Saint John — In a move many are calling “a long time coming,” Chapters locations all across New Brunswick are phasing out tedious, protracted books of printed words and making way for the far more popular adult colouring books.
“We can’t seem to convince our customers to buy these boring word-books anymore,” said Ted Colwell, manager of the Chapters Saint John location. “Meanwhile, our adult colouring books are flying off the shelves.
“And remember back before we had our huge home-decor and knickknack section?” continued Colwell, standing among some over-stuffed pillows and custom bottle openers. “We hardly had any people in here at all. The formula seems to be: the fewer books, the more financially viable the bookstore.”
A Manatee reporter surveyed a group of Chapters customers this morning who were all on-board with the decision.
“I find the story-line and psychology in many colouring books to be just as complex as say, something out of Dostoevsky or Orwell,” said Gene Richard, holding a colouring book simply titled Anna Karenina: A Colouring Book Love Story and featuring pictures of scenes from Tolstoy’s famous novel. “You’d have to be quite a snob to deny the creativity it takes to colour in a pre-drawn image of a bouquet of flowers.”
While critics say Tolstoy would be rolling in his grave, the province is backing the bookstores’ decision to “dumb it down.” To prove it, schools are being transitioned away from actual literature as well.
The province plans to replace English, math, art, gym, and science classes with colouring-book classes, beginning in Grade 7. “This is great for me,” said Grade 10 biology teacher Dale Hargrove. “Instead of trying to hammer it into these kids’ heads what mitochondria are, they can just colour in a picture of a cell. And I can finally stop worrying about whether I’m cutting it as an educator and just kind of… zone out. It’s a great way to de-stress.”
“Our perennial struggle with literacy is no secret,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Serge Rousselle, “and with budget cuts to educational resources, it just makes sense to cut down on literary materials and encourage students to focus on colours and shapes. It may be tough for a high school student to grasp the symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird, but they sure as heck know how to colour in a line-drawing of a mockingbird. And the teachers’ workload is a lot lighter, too. It’s just good for everyone’s self-esteem.”
When our reporter looked skeptical, Rousselle, somewhat disturbingly, began quoting the Toronto Star from memory. “According to the Star, ‘Colouring can be a form of self-care, dedicating some time to yourself to do something you enjoy. For some people that might be exercise, reading, or doing something else they enjoy. But for a lot of people, turning to art is a wonderful form of self-care and self-expression.'”
The Star has not confirmed whether it will be making the switch to an “adult colouring newspaper” business model.