The Red Chalk

Initially, I had mixed feelings about this Dutch import by Iris van der Heide and Marije Tolman, but after several readings The Red Chalk has won me over through the sheer glory of the children’s imaginations. School Library Journal: “Sara, unable to draw a satisfactory picture on her bumpy sidewalk, sees that Tim is having more fun playing with his marbles. Instead of discarding the chalk, she tells him that ‘everything you draw with it will come to life.’ They make a switch and Sara’s claim proves true for Tim. She doesn’t know exactly what to do with the newly acquired marbles, however, so she trades them for a lollipop, telling a girl that they are pearls from the sea. Sam immediately turns into a smiling mermaid while Sara discovers that the lollipop is cherry, a flavor she doesn’t even like. So, she barters again, acquiring a ‘broken’ yo-yo, an ‘out-of-tune’ flute, and a hopscotch board that disappears in the rain. But all is not lost as Sara is again in possession of the red chalk. She uses it to draw a very large hopscotch board that she shares with the other children” — and all the fantasies that they have created. “Delicate pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are the highlight of this story and deftly detail the make-believe scenarios that the other children enjoy.” Giggle factor: not applicable. Adult enjoyment: likely. Illustrations: four jelly jars.

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~ by kaychubbuck on June 30, 2011.

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