Book Reviews Picture Books

Chalk by Bill Thomson

Chalk was a big favorite to get a Caldecott nod, and now, having read it, I can see why this was such a popular opinion. This book is delightful. If I was doing a mock Caldecott at an elementary school again this spring, this book would absolutely be in my lineup.

I love a wordless picture book. I remember that my mom didn’t ever care for them because then you have to make up the story as you go along, but as a mega-reader, I like wordless books because it makes it easier for me to focus on the illustrations instead of just zipping through the words. 

The story follows three children walking to the park on a very rainy day. Hanging from the mouth of one of the ride-on dinosaurs is a bag of chalk.

One of the little girls pulls out a piece of chalk and draws a sun on the rainy ground. And then the real sun comes out and in an instant the rain is gone.

Of course, now they all have to draw something and see if it comes to life. Which is all well and good, until you draw something scary. . .

I love how realistic these images are; they make the magic even more striking. The colors are so rich, and this image, where the chalk butterflies turn into real butterflies is breathtaking.

I think this book, with a box of sidewalk chalk, would be the perfect birthday present for a child. Or for me.

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  • Reply Tina's Blog February 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    That picture is absolutely wonderful. I just ordered this for my schoo library, but haven't even had a chance to browse this one anywhere yet.

  • Reply RA February 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    What ages would this book be good for? I'm taking notes for birthday parties of the future.

  • Reply lifeofadoctorswife February 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    This seems like such a cool, imaginative book!

  • Reply Janssen February 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I think picture books are fun for all ages, but it seems like many kids, especially strong readers, lose some interest in picture books around third grade. I guess the ideal age would be maybe 3-7.

  • Reply McKinley February 19, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I will have to go get it. Anything with a caldaclott (spell?) award is a must for me. I love children's books more then anything. hahahah I guess that sounds funny but I feel like they bring back so many childhood memories and that is why I will always love them. I can't wait to find this at Barns and Nobel!

  • Reply megan February 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Very cute idea for a gift.

  • Reply girlseeksplace February 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    This looks very cool. Have you "read" Sector 7 by David Weisner?

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