Book review: “Route 66 Splendor: An Adult Coloring Book”

At least one Route 66 adult coloring has hit the market, and more probably will to take advantage of the craze. But they will be hard-pressed to surpass Jo Ann Kargus’ newly published “Route 66 Splendor: An Adult Coloring Book.”

According to a report earlier by CNN and other media outlets, therapists and researchers have touted the mental-health benefits of adults coloring pages for years. The activity even is suggested as an alternative to meditation. Several coloring books have become best-sellers.

That apparently includes Kargus’ coloring books. Her earlier release, “St. Louis Splendor,” published in late 2016, sold more than 7,000 copies in five months. So her publisher, Reedy Press, probably didn’t need much persuasion to publish another such book from her.

Route 66 Splendor excerpt of Gay Parita Station

“Route 66 Splendor” contains 50 black-and-white drawings of various landmarks or collages of images from the Mother Road. The pages measure a nicely sized 8 1/2 by 11 inches. The back page of each drawing is blank to allow for bleed-through from Magic Markers. Each page also is perforated on the edge so each can be removed and colored individually.

Route 66 Splendor excerpt of Arizona collage

In my opinion, the most important part of Kargus’ drawings is she uses strong lines within the sketches. This provides the user a clear guide in how to color the drawings. This may not be important to people with strong artistic skills. But those clear lines will help children and amateur adult artists color the images with a bit more room for error and, thus, give a more satisfactory experience.

Among the drawings in the book:

  • Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield, Illinois
  • Our Lady of the Highways near Raymond, Illinois
  • Coral Court Motel near St. Louis
  • Gay Parita Station near Paris Springs, Missouri
  • Blue Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma
  • Totem Pole Park near Foyil, Oklahoma
  • U-Drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas
  • Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas
  • Madonna of the Trail statue
  • Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman, Arizona
  • Aztec Hotel in Monrovia, California
  • Bottletree Ranch near Oro Grande, California

Kargus’ attention to detail and her skills of more than 30 years as a commercial artist continually come through, especially with her collages of images.


(Excerpted images of the Gay Parita station and an Arizona collage from “Route 66 Splendor: An Adult Coloring Book”)

5 thoughts on “Book review: “Route 66 Splendor: An Adult Coloring Book”

  1. Thanks for the cool article, Ron. I just wanted to alert you to a typo in the list: “Our Lady of the Highways,” not “Out Lady…” We have a postcard of Bob Waldmire’s drawing of the shrine on our fridge, probably purchased at the Cozy Dog.
    And how much acreage does that beachfront property include? Are you selling the mineral rights with it?

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