This book was published by Marvel Books with a copyright of 1984. ISBN 0-87135-012-2.
The scans live here: http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~sstoneb/tf/books/coloring/shortage/. Browse them at your leisure. "FC" and "BC" are the front and back covers.
The cover art is odd; Sideswipe is a badly-drawn copy of his model sheet, as seen in the old Transformers Universe comics. Bumblebee, however, is toy-based. The interior art is similarly perplexing. In the Autobot camp, Prime, Sideswipe, and Bluestreak/Prowl bear some resemblence to their animation models. The others look (to me) closer to their box art or toy incarnations, although, personally, I think the art is rather poor to the point that I can hardly tell. Megatron, the Seekers, and Laserbeak are based on their animation models, but again, on many pages the likeness is fleeting. Rumble appears in a toy or box art inspired design, and Ravage makes a rare toy-model appearance, although he is not relevant to the story. It may be that the artist was provided with model sheets for the characters who had been written in, and threw in a few toy-model robots here and there to fill in the ranks. (All of Ravage's other coloring book appearances are cartoon model, even when most characters are still in their toy models.) Many of the Autobot robots and cars appear quite generic. It is worth noting, though, that near the end of the book a toy-accurate Ironhide or Ratchet appears on top of the dam. Sunstreaker is quite clearly toy-based. On one page, cartoon-model Megatron has his gun barrel facing forward on his hip like the toy.
Sparkplug's son is called Buster in this book, and their last name (Witwicky) is given. The first time Sunstreaker is referred to alone, he is given the name Sideswipe. Next, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker are named as a pair, twice. Sunstreaker then appears alone again, and is named correctly. Lastly, Buster states that "Spin-Out" has been hit. He is in car mode, whereas Sunstreaker was in robot mode on the previous page, which would lead me to think it is actually Sideswipe. However, when the Witwickys reach him to begin repairs, he is referred to as Sunstreaker, and then again on the page after that. (FYI, Spin-Out is believed to have been an early name for Sideswipe. Additionally, at least part of the bios for Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were switched, in error. Read their profiles from the old TF Universe comics; their abilities sections are clearly backwards.) This book features a battle at Hoover Dam. While it bears practically no resemblence to the Sherman Dam sequence in the cartoon episode, "More Than Meets The Eye, Part 2", it is still an interesting parallel. Lastly, it's not really clear what the "deadly fuel shortage" is... The Decepticons do mention that they are low on fuel, which is why they abandon the first battle. They then attack the dam, so I guess they might be trying to get powered up there, so the Cons' fuel shortage is deadly for the people at the dam. But they don't really seem to be trying to harness energy... they're just blowing the dam up... Oh well.
After a single page explaining that the Transformers come from space, the story opens in a strange manner. Sparkplug and Buster are hiding behind rocks, watching the Autobots as they stand around. They are grabbed by Decepticons, and then the Autobots take notice and demand the humans be released. Seemingly, the Witwickys have not yet met and befriended the Autobots, although they talk as if they know about the war already. Anyway, a battle ensues. The Decepticons run low on fuel and retreat, and the Witwickys repair the damaged Autobots. Prime sends out scouts to find the Decepticons again, and it's discovered that they are attacking Hoover Dam. Another battle ensues, and the Autobots win for no apparent reason.
The good bits:
Hound looks down on Hoover Dam and "spots" the Decepticons. What an eagle-eye he has! I barely noticed they were there.
The Sunstreaker/Sideswipe/Spin-Out thing is killing me. I don't think it can be explained without attributing at least three errors to the creative team.
(TF FAQ Mainpage)