24 February 2011


 Thomson, Bill.  2010. CHALK.  Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Children. ISBN 9780761455264.

Kids at the park, a bucket of chalk....pictures come alive!  Then....the rain comes. 

The illustrations in this wordless picture book are crisp, clear, colorful, done in mixed media and very realistic looking.  The pictures alone are enough to grab your attention, but once the book is opened, the storyline will draw you in.  Each reader will have their own version of the story, which is part of its charm.  Thomson does an incredible job illustrating and using the expressions on the characters faces to portray the events.

Highly recommended to everyone, adults as well will enjoy this book.

School Library Journal,  starred review:  "This imaginative story is the perfect showcase for Thomson's extraordinary pictures. Though they look like photos or computer-generated images, each one is actually composed using traditional techniques with acrylics and colored pencils. The artist's clever use of light, perspective, and expression, along with the protagonists' neat solution to their dilemma, creates a completely satisfying experience. Thomson is a master at visual storytelling."
Booklist:  "With eye-catching, realistic illustrations, clever details, and some dramatic suspense, this wordless picture book offers a fresh take on the drawings-come-to-life theme. One rainy day, three raincoat-clad children head to the playground and find a bag of chalk. When one girl draws a sun, something amazing happens: clouds break and a sunny blue sky appears. The second kid draws butterflies, which also appear. But when a boy draws a dinosaur, things get almost too exciting. Luckily, a solution is close at hand. Vibrant acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations, rendered with intricate precision, nearly leap off the page, as the expressive, diverse trio experiences magical, exhilarating moments that highlight how familiar materials and settings can inspire rewarding adventures. Varying perspectives, from vistas to close-ups, enhance the drama. A few scenarios, such as those featuring a giant, looming, spiky-toothed T. rex, may be too intense for the youngest children, but many kids will enjoy this testament to the power of creativity and imagination."

Two other wordless pictures books come to mind that would be fun to pair with this, FLOTSAM and TUESDAY, both by David Wiesner.  Focusing on storytelling and how a book does not have to have words to tell a story would make for a fun storytime or basic lesson to the elementary crowd.

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