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Book Review: Color Me Marilyn: Classic Hollywood Moments by Emanuel Emanuele

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At a Memorial Day fair, a coloring booth was set up. Various symbols were printed on cover stock and cut out so the kids could color them, and string them as medallions. As most of the children ran around on the grass, engaging in more physical activities, a group of “grown-ups” — some long retired — sat around the coloring table chatting. Little by little, the adults picked up crayons and markers and began coloring while continuing their conversations.

Often when a young child invites an adult to share a coloring book, the adult experiences a bit of frustration. The child picks a two-page spread, then picks the page he or she wants to color. The adult accepts the other assignment and they color side-by-side. The frustration kicks in when the child decides to “help” the adult, who is pleased with the job he or she is doing. How mature would it be for the adult to screech, “No don’t help me — you’ll ruin it!!!”?

Coloring is not just for kiddies. To prove this point, Running Press recently released  Color Me Marilyn: Classic Hollywood Moments, a meticulously detailed coloring book illustrated by Emanuel Emanuele. Although coloring classic Monroe movie scenes and photographs might be a fun, creative outlet, it’s a safe bet that many of the books sold will never see a crayon or colored pencil applied to their pages.

Color Me Marilyn is also a collector’s item for Marilyn fans. Each page features a beautifully rendered illustration featuring Monroe, as well as context-providing background. Captions on every page reveal a bit of information or trivia about the movies or events from which the illustration was taken.

The pages of Color Me Marilyn are printed on one side and perforated “for easy framing and sharing.” There are 64 illustrations and they are presented in chronological order. They include all of Monroe’s films and a variety of other famous Monroe moments — accepting awards, singing “Happy Birthday” to JFK, entertaining troops, attending Actors’ Studio, and posing for publicity shots.

Emanuele has done a splendid job of capturing those moments; we may be looking at line drawings but they are rich with personality and implied action. The portraits sparkle with that electric (yet vulnerable) quality Monroe conveyed. Color Me Marilyn is a must for serious Marilyn collectors and fans and those with a love for the old Hollywood. Every page is a delight.

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