Chalk, by Bill Thomson, a fantasy picture book

And now for something completely different-- a wordless picture book that beautifully tells a fantastical story.

, by Bill Thomson (2010, Marshall Cavendish).

Three kids, on a rainy day, walk through a playground. There they find a ride-on bouncy T-rex holding a shopping bag in its jaws, and inside are sticks of sidewalk chalk. A girl draws the sun, and the sun comes out, dazzling in the brightness reflected by the puddles. A girl draws the outlines of butterflies, and monarchs take flight around her. And what does the boy draw? A T-rex! (typical).

Panic ensues when the chalk works its magic again. But fortunately the boy keeps his head, and draws the one thing that will save them from the T-rex's ravenous jaws....

This one just tickled me to pieces. For a wordless picture book, it sure tells a good story...the sort of imaginative story that makes the reader (looker?) launch into daydreams of their own. It could almost really happen... and the fantasy of the story is given even more magic by its contrast with the realism of the illustrations, which are beautifully detailed. My own boys, at the ripe old ages of 9 and 7, weren't that interested, but for a four year old, or thereabouts, I bet this would be pure enchantment. I liked it lots myself.

Added bonus: the three kids are a diverse bunch-- black, Asian, and white. Drawback (tongue in cheek): Might suggest to girls that boys have poor impulse control and don't always think things through the same way they themselves do.

Other thoughts at Muddy Puddle Musings, My Book Retreat, and The Children's Book Compass.

(Disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher)


  1. Oh, I love the look of this picture book. The cover is super cute.

  2. I just "read" this one and loved it. Have you read Building with Dad? It's the same illustrator--also great. I usually don't like wordless picture books but I felt this one was really child-friendly (sometimes I feel like they're more popular with adults!)

  3. This is a great one! It's hardly ever been on the shelf since I bought it for the library. I haven't used it in storytime, but I will when I get the right group.

  4. I love the art on this book, and it sounds like it would be an adorable choice to use with a younger kid.

  5. Wordless picture books are really amazing. I first read the ones by David Weisner and I was so stunned by how complex a story he told in just pictures (Flotsam). I am excited to check out this one. Thanks for the post!

    Pragmatic Mom
    Type A Parenting for the Modern World

    I blog on parenting, children's lit and education


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