It has been an odd month on ‘bee’ reviewed to be sure; articles, games, and now coloring books – oh my! Don’t worry, in two weeks we depart even further from the norm for Halloween!
The Biology Coloring Book by Robert D. Griffin was a gift from my brother for Christmas and boy is it a genius idea. Coloring, particularly of small areas that require concentration like adult coloring books provide, has been shown to relieve stress in anxious college students – as a formerly anxious college student and now anxious grad student, I would spend many a post-final hour coloring to work out the stress.
What’s cool about The Biology Coloring Book is that you could actually use it before the final, not after. The left side of each spread is filled with coloring instructions that also give you pretty detailed, if succinct, information on topics from the ER, transcription, biogeochemical cycles, and anatomy. With 111 topics covered, there’s a lot of information in here! If you’re looking for help passing freshman bio (nothing more advanced) without bashing your head against a desk from the soul-crushing stress you’re experiencing (am I projecting?), this could be the book for you. There are even about twenty diagrams relating to basic chemistry (atoms, molecules, etc) so you can share with your stressed-out chemistry major friends.
The drawbacks are, of course, that the diagrams are really detailed and thus not very fun to color. Sometimes the coloring ‘instructions’ can be a bit confusing and hard to follow (they’ve got a lot of small letter/symbol notation). If you’re doing anything more complex than freshman bio, this book is too brief to cover it for you (but hey, it never claimed to be a textbook)! Overall, it’s a fun concept and a great gift for any biology student you know to help them work through those first-year studying blues. I would recommend purchasing a large set of colored pencils and a really nice sharpener – there are several diagrams that require many, many colors (in my opinion).
While the detailed diagrams may not be the most fun to color, there is the additional benefit that they’re really helpful for showing you the concept (and helping you understand what’s going on). If you need a diagram to go along with a textbook explanation, this coloring book could prove surprisingly useful. All around, a fun book with a myriad of uses from stress relief to supplemental educational materials.
Best coloring pages include: animal cell (pictured on the cover), plant cell, prokaryotic cell, the fluid mosaic model, nucleus + ER, mitochondria + chloroplast, introduction to genetics, Mendel’s peas, DNA replication, transcription, protein synthesis, Charles Darwin, natural selection we can see, kingdoms of the living world, communities
Worst coloring pages: Sex linked characteristics III, ecological pyramids (literal boxes)