The National Parks Postcard Coloring Book
“Discover tranquility and peace by coloring in beautiful landscape and wildlife postcards from America’s most iconic national parks,” invites the Barnes & Noble book blurb for this coloring book. The book itself contains 20 cardstock pages that can be ripped out, stamped, and sent to friends. Each page is a line drawing based on a photograph taken by Ian Shive, representing some essential aspect or view of the park. For Yellowstone National Park it is a shot of a lone bison under vast cloudy skies; for Yosemite National Park, a sweeping view of the iconic cliff “El Capitan.” The intricate images align with the trend of adult coloring books, promoted as a calming and restorative hobby. In this light, Barnes & Noble’s reference to “tranquility and peace,” relates both to the act of coloring and the popular rhetoric of nature as sanctuary. Unlike many other coloring books that depict fanciful underwater scenes or abstract patterns, however, the images on the postcards represent photographs. Contained within the book are images from all over the nation, but it is possible to buy the book and color the pages without having visited a single one – people can interact with images of the landscape, personalizing them through how they choose to color in the card, and then add a written message. For its Centennial in 2016, the National Park Service launched a movement called “Find Your Park,” encouraging people to explore parks near them and develop personal connections. This book of cards reinforces the ideas of personalization and accessibility by encouraging owners of the book to fashion their own impressions of the National Parks.