Chalk

Bill Thomson, Author, Bill Thomson, Illustrator Marshall Cavendish $15.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7614-5526-4

In this wordless drama, a clever twist on the theme of “be careful what you wish for,” sidewalk chalk provides three children with miraculous fun until one artist goes overboard. Thomson’s (Building with Dad ) photo-real acrylic and colored pencil spreads close in on three kids in raincoats who discover a bag full of chalk hanging from the mouth of a playground dinosaur. As raindrops splash, one girl draws a sun on the pavement. When a sun promptly bursts forth and drives the clouds away, the second girl draws chalk butterflies, whereupon monarchs emerge from the pavement. But the boy’s hand-drawn dinosaur is a little too real, and the frightening creature pursues them across the playground. Although the kids’ expressions of glee, shock, and terror sometimes feel over the top, Thomson’s brilliant sun and shadow effects, cinematic shots, and novel angles (one from the POV of the marauding dino) create lots of visual excitement. The story is simple enough so that readers can provide their own narrative, though it might leave some more cautious about picking up strange objects. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/25/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
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