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Perhaps the most serious problem with current literacy campaigns is that they ignore, and even divert attention from, ... More

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Author: Bill Thomson

Illustrator: Bill Thomson

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Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Corporation,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Two girls and a boy walking by the playground on a rainy day spot a bag with stars on it hanging from the equipment. They investigate and discover sidewalk chalk! The first girl pulls out a piece of yellow chalk and draws a sun on the pavement. Magically, a bright sphere rises from the pavement, up into the sky, driving the clouds away! The next girl picks orange chalk and draws butterflies on the pavement. A flock of real monarch butterflies come to life and fill the sky like bubbles! Last but not least, the boy opts for the green chalk and draws a T-Rex. Well that Tyrannosaurus Rex comes to life, chasing the children into the tube slides! The boy thinks fast, pulls out the blue chalk, and draws rain clouds on the inside of the tube slide. The rain returns, washing away the chalk on the pavement and dissolving the real dinosaur. They put their rain coats back on, return the bag of chalk to it's original hanging spot, and walk away, forever changed by this magical experience. This is a wordless picture book for children of all ages.

Type of Reading: family reading, playtime reading, interactive reading, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 2 to 6; read yourself: 2 and up

Interest Level: 2 and up

Age of Child: Read with three brothers ages 2, 4, and 6.

Young Reader Reaction: My kids LOVED LOVED LOVED this book. It was very exciting, and, without words, they could tell the story any way they wanted. Together, as a family, I don't think any of us expected to react to this book the way we did. We were taken off-guard by this story. I don't know of any book as much FUN as this book to read with my children. It was very exciting!

Adult Reader Reaction: I LOVED this book. The first time I read it, I didn't know what to expect and burst out laughing as the story revealed itself. The illustrations are beyond belief. The artist used only acrylic paint and colored pencils (not photographs), and I am just amazed at how much detail and how much realism are brought to the work. His use of alternative viewing angles is incredible. Not all the pictures are taken straight-on, some are "shot" from above, at a tilt, from low angles, through the tube slide. The mechanics of perspective and proportion are just amazingly executed. Even when I re-read the story, I am, again, amazed at the precision. Then I look at the beauty of the images -- of the children looking up and around as the butterflies rise from the ground up into the air. It's just beautiful. And the detail of the dinosaur's skin is just ... amazing.

Pros: This is a marvelous book. A unique story told without words. You don't need them, because the pictures depict the story VERY clearly and with great excitement.

Cons: NONE.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. Incredible illustrations. Novel plot. Exciting and beautiful and action packed and just amazing.


Educational Themes: This is all about imagination. Grab some chalk and head outside with the kids.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, dinosaurs

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2012

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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