Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chalk by Bill Thomson

This is a wordless book kids can really get their teeth into.

Heh. I couldn't resist. On a gloomy, rainy day, three children find a bag of chalk in the park. Magical chalk, that makes their drawings come alive. Of course, one kid can't resist guessed it, a tyrannosaurus! After a frenzied chase, one child has a bright idea and the dinosaur is defeated. The chalk is left behind for another child to discover the magic, and the three children leave.

Thomson's illustrations, created from acrylic paint and colored pencils, have a slick surface and vibrant depth and movement. He perfectly captures the complete absorption in art, imagination, and magic that only a child can display, and the children's range of emotions from wonder to terror, are spot on at every point. I am specifically in love with the illustration of the butterflies coming alive on the concrete and the children's exuberant delight as they swirl up into the sky.

This book, by the way, is the kind of picturebook I'd like to see more of when I think of adding "multicultural" picturebooks to my library. The three children represent different races and genders, but they are caught in a moment of magic and excitement that any child can understand and empathize with. I was also glad to see that each child played a major part in the story - many picturebooks are starting to show minorities, but mostly as what I call "background diversity"; as a best friend, part of a class, or a neighbor, not as an important character in the story.

Verdict: Highly recommended for public, school, and personal libraries. Display it with books on dinosaurs, art, and imagination. Have children tell the story to you in storytime. Show it to your after school kids and then have a giant chalk drawing program.

ISBN: 9780761455264; Published March 2010 by Marshall Cavendish; Review copy provided by publisher for Cybils; Purchased for the library


Charlotte said...

I loved this one too!

Jennifer said...

Yes! Don't you love, love, love the butterflies?