Well, apparently they were back then and still are today for people of all ages. People are making the adult coloring books bestsellers on Amazon! At the time of this writing, eight of the top twenty books on the bestsellers list, are coloring books for adults. There must be something behind this recent growth in interest.
Coloring books generally have a theme of sorts. It might be that they are based on a Disney movie, or it is about animals, or vehicles, or something else. When selecting books for your children, remember that they will want to express their creativity, and will have a lot of fun with any coloring book, but will be more interested in a coloring booklet with a theme that appeals to them. Choose a color book that features their favorite characters, or the item of interest in their life. For example, if your little boy just loves trains, get a Thomas the Train coloring book. If your little girl is as girly as they come, look for the Disney Princess coloring book, or possibly Strawberry Shortcake.
The themes of adult coloring books are usually intricate and centered more around adult images, not your childhood counterparts that included bunnies, super heroes, and farm animals. You would expect to see geometric patterns, psychedelic patterns reminiscent of doodle art type pages, fantasy images including angels, dragons, goddesses and mermaids, and ancient designs of religious and spiritual nature.