When I first got my hands on the open-ended coloring book Fotoplay! back in 2012, I fell in love with the way photographer M. J. Bronstein used her snapshots as prompts, encouraging kids to draw all over them to create their own personal masterpiece. Her new coloring book, PhotoPlay!: Doodle. Design. Draw. is just as cool, and with more than double the pages to keep kids engaged for a good long time on a road trip or a rainy day.
Every page in PhotoPlay! features an interesting black-and-white photograph with a prompt or idea for how to finish the picture, like Jesse and Puffy are watching an alien or These chairs are perfect. For whom? It’s up to the child to draw the rest. There is a ton of diversity in the animals and children featured in the action shots, and variety in the still-life photographs, too. This means vases that need flowers from another planet, or a cake stand that needs to be topped with a treat for a penguin.
Along with the book itself, I love how M.J. Bronstein is using her images to work with kids from Maine, Poland, and South Sudan on an international classroom venture, No Life Without Water. While the kids are learning about the importance of clean water and protecting our natural resources, the ultimate goal is to help build a well in a Sudanese village. The images above, drawn by the students involved in the project, show how differently each child can interpret the same photograph, a theme that is central to the concept of PhotoPlay! Cool coloring book indeed.