5.0 7
by Bill Thomson

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Three children discover a magical bag of chalk on a rainy day

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
In an illustration world that is dominated by computer manipulated art designed to look realistic, this book is both visually refreshing and intellectually challenging. Three children go to a park, find a bag of chalk and draw with it, with surprising results. Thomson makes meticulous use of acrylic paint and colored pencils to create each of the spreads in this wordless book. In a kind of visual sleight of hand his images manage to create the illusion of photographs juxtaposed with computer-generated art. The images are so finely wrought that they demand repeated looks, even as the viewer is drawn into the story. Because story it is, with none of its elements overlooked or neglected. From the rainy day on which the three children walk to the playground, the story wheels through sunshine, risk, danger, and then back to the drizzle in which they leave. The characters are not overlooked either. Each child in the trio is an individual with a distinct personality and unique capability for action. Subtle characterizations are conveyed by facial expressions and the twist and reach of bodies. Thomson conveys depths in this story that resonate significantly beyond its 40-page container. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4—This stunningly illustrated wordless picture book tells the story of three children who find a bag of magical chalk at the playground on a rainy day. Their drawings come to life, which seems great when a drawing of the sun stops the rain, but is scary when a dinosaur stalks them. A drawing of a rain cloud inside a play tube brings the rain back and dissolves the frightening creature. 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.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Publishers Weekly
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.)

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Product Details

Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
12.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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