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Chalk up another homerun from Bill Thomson
on June 26, 2010
I'll admit that my family is made up of Bill Thomson groupies. My kids and I loved his three earlier books, which redefined what a children's illustration can be. My wife constantly pesters our local librarians to add his books with claims that he is the most talented illustrator never to win a Caldecott. Not yet, anyway.
In Chalk, a story about the mischief children can get into with magical chalk, Thomson ups his game. Clearly, the story line is better than past books, even without words. There is a lot of action, a narrative flow, and an open invitation for the readers to supply their words and interpretations. The guarded look back by the boy in yellow on the last page is priceless.
The illustrations too are different, although still extraordinarily detailed. There is a brighter palette with some striking colors. The insert drawings on a number of pages that remind one of the technique Jan Brett uses in The Mitten. The dinosaur playground ride is especially interesting. While everything else in the book is photo-realistic, the ride looks more like the computer generated images in Toy Story, an interesting contrast.
This book would be a great gift for any child ages 3-8.