Book review – Secret Garden by Johanna Basford

While we all anxiously await the publication of Magical Jungle (tomorrow! Whoo!) by Johanna Basford, I thought I’d leaf through the other books of Johanna’s, starting with the earliest, Secret Garden. I’m sure you’ve all seen it a thousand times but it’s always worth revisiting, plus you’ll get to see my embarrassing first colorings, bonus much? 😀 I have the very first print run of this, bought when they first published this book, the paper is different now.

Details: Paperback, Laurence King Publishing, 2013 (2015 edition available now)
Pages: 250 x 250 x 10mm, 96 pages, shoddy paper for 2013 edition, great smooth paper for 2015, double-sided
ISBN10: 1780671067
ISBN13: 9781780671062
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

So, mine is the 2013 print, it has thin shoddy paper reminiscent of copy paper, not even that really, it’s even worse imho, the 2015 edition that is currently being sold is a LOT better, that one has the familiar paper they use for all of Johanna’s books now. I’m not sure if the crap paper was the case with all the earlier ones or I was just spectacularly misfortunate. I hate the old paper so much that I’ve pretty much given up on the book. I should buy a new one but.. It feels a bit ridiculous to buy a book I already have, simply because the paper is so bad on the old one. The dilemma always makes me sad when I think about it so I’d rather not.
That said, the images are great. As you can see from my colorings here, these were my first colorings, they’re not all that great. But the entire book is beautiful and filled with breathtaking imagery. Johanna is so popular for a reason.
I also love the covers, the dust jacket hides a gorgeous brown cover with mooore to color.

Since I won’t be coloring in this anymore due to the paper, I can’t show you something that is actually decent so here’s one of my very first ones:

Overall, who doesn’t love Johanna’s works? I bet you all have this book, anyone out there with the crappy paper version as well? Please leave a comment if you do, did you buy a new one or are dealing with the old one?

While we wait for Magical Jungle, I think I’ll also show you my Enchanted Forest tomorrow. Which will be fun, not only have I colored a bit there, my daughter did as well 😀 But of that, tomorrow.

In other news, I’m absolutely loathing owls by this point. Still working on a double spread from Sommarnatt by Hanna Karlzon, the one with owls if you have the book and know what I’m talking about.

Disclaimer: all of the above opinions are mine, you might have a different experience and opinions

4 thoughts on “Book review – Secret Garden by Johanna Basford

  1. I too have a crappy but Croatian version of Secret Garden, it’s much thinner than the 2015 UK version due to the flimsy paper… The 2015 UK edition is still my favourite, among the four books I cannot decide if I like SG or MJ more, both are fantastic!


    1. Oh thank god, I’m not alone! Though I’m sorry you have a crap one as well. They didn’t release the Estonian version before it got REALLY popular so the paper is quite nice on that one. I wish I was made of money and wouldn’t have to think whether to get a new one 😀
      My favorites are both SG and EF, I’m yet to see MJ.


  2. I’ve got one of the early versions, I find it very unpleasant to colour in. I have since bought multiple copies as you can often pick them up for a reasonable price in the UK. I have to say that all the versions I’ve got have got slightly different paper.

    On another note you’ll love Magical Jungle………


    1. That is so sad that the earlier ones are so bad. I’ll keep an eye out on Bookdepository, maybe I’ll score a newer one on sale or something.
      I just got my shipping notice for Magical Jungle, can’t wait! It will take like three weeks though, mail is insanely slow here lately.


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