Since 2011, Scholastic Australia have been churning out coloring and activity books featuring Spidey and other Marvel characters. They're generally pretty good, but the same old material has been appearing again and again, recycled to death.
But at the end of 2015, we finally saw some new content.
This Paint By Numbers book features crisp new artwork starring Spidey and other characters from his latest Ultimate Spider-Man TV (2012) show.
It is 8.4" x 10.9" in size, with 24 thick white pages, although each page is only printed on one side so there's actually twelve pictures to paint in total. Price $8 Australian.
The cool thing is that each page comes with its own paints! So all you need is a paintbrush and some water, then you're ready to go. Wet your brush, smudge it around on the colored blob on the page, and it will dissolve some paint ready to be transferred to the picture.
Each page has the same eight colors: Blue, Red, Yellow, Green, Purple, Orange, Brown, and Black. That covers all the basics, and is sufficient to paint Spidey, Nova, Iron Fist, Beetle, Scorpion, and Electro – in various combinations.
I love Spidey painting books, and this is a handy format. Twelve sheets to colour is enough to justify a book, and the thick single-sided paper gives the book a substantial feel.
The book has "educational aspirations", which are slightly amusing. The back cover lists educational benefits for the book, including "number recognition" and "new ways to colour". Inside it suggests "Paint yellow energy rays around the hero's fists." (Presumably instructions for the parent to read aloud).
This is a nice little painting book at a fair price.
Sure, it takes itself far too seriously with its "Let's Learn" branding. It's a painting book, for goodness' sake! Just let your kids paint. Stop trying to educate them all the time, they'll never learn anything if you don't leave them alone!
But I can ignore that too-earnest, sententious silliness for long enough to hand out a solid Four Web rating.