Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chalk, by Bill Thomson (ages 4 - 9) - creating magic with just a piece of chalk

A young girl asked me the other day, "But is it real?" Young kids are working hard to figure out what belongs to the world of just pretend and what belongs to the "real world". We want to help them make those distinctions, and yet ... and yet... Don't we also want to help them see the magic of our imaginations, the magic in our own real worlds? Chalk, by Bill Thomson, is an amazing wordless book that embraces and celebrates kids' imaginations in a very real way. It's one of my standout books of the year.

by Bill Thomson
NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2010
ages 4 - 9
available on Amazon and at your local library
One rainy day, three kids walk past the playground and see a bag of chalk hanging on a dinosaur's mouth. They look inside the bag. One kid takes out a piece of chalk, and draws a sun. All of a sudden, the clouds part and the sun starts to shine! What should the draw next? Butterflies? Butterflies lift off the ground, coming to life from their drawings.

Thomson creates an exciting, magical story completely through his paintings. At first I was convinced these were computer generated, until I read Thomson's note at the end. All of the artwork was created through acrylic paintings and colored pencil sketches. His precision, perspective and details are truly extraordinary. Young kids will simply be amazed at this story. I'd even read it to 4th and 5th graders, talking about what inferences they make to understand what's happening.

Crayola 3D Deluxe Art SetThis would make a great gift, combined with some sidewalk chalk or even Crayola's 3-D Chalk with a note encouraging your child to make some magic of their own.

For more about this great book, see the publisher's website: Marshall Cavendish. Especially noteworthy is Bill Thomson's essay about the process of illustration in Chalk.

For other reviews, check out Charlotte's Library, A Year of Reading, Bookends, Kids Lit, and Scope Notes. Yes, it's getting rave reviews all over!

The review copy came from my local library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this page, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support!