The Bonsai School
by Craig Coussins
D&S Books (UK): 256pp., USD$47.50; UKP 19.99
First published 2002
*Review by Hector Johnson
In a book characterised by hundreds and hundreds of high quality colour photography, it is irritating to find so many typographical errors and misspellings. The occurrence of poor quality, digital images is also a serious drawback to an otherwise excellent publication.
The author has chosen some unusual content, particularly in relation to the relationship between bonsai and Buddhism. In another unusual and welcome move, the use of articles, by experienced artists from around the world, gives the book an unprecedented appeal for the reader interested to learn of the similarities and differences between the bonsai styles of a number of countries.
in China to Hon Non Bo
in Vietnam, to bonsai in Japan, this is an entertaining read for the beginner or the more experienced enthusiast.
It also covers the obligatory chapters on basic styling, pruning and wiring, though I feel its strength is the international flavour of the work.
Well worth the read, the book is more aimed at the beginner and the interested reader than it is a technical manual. This is no way intended to be a reflection of the author's assumed skill... it is refreshing to find a book that breaks away from the tried and tested formula of bonsai books.
I can only hope that the new edition, due in March 2006, is going to see the editor address the atrocious layout and grammatical standards, particularly of the first few chapters, of the 2002 edition.
**Prices may vary somewhat, with offerings from online booksellers such as http://www.amazon.com
being substantially cheaper than the RRP.*About the reviewer
Hector Johnson is an amateur bonsai enthusiast from Brisbane, Australia. In 16 years of involvement in the art of bonsai he has managed to amass a modest collection of trees of reasonable quality. His recent involvement with the Art of Bonsai project, as editor of print articles, is a rewarding and welcome activity, allowing him to contribute to the development of bonsai on the worldwide scene. His preference is to keep a low profile, at the periphery of the world of bonsai.