Saturday, August 24, 2013
Chalk, by Bill Thomson. Amazon Children's Publishing, 2010. $18.95 ages 3 and up
A rainy day.
Three kids in a park.
A dinosaur spring rider.
A bag of chalk.
The kids begin to draw...
Oh, my! You need to have this book in your hands...right now! What an inspiring work of art it is! I guarantee you will be sitting on the edge of your seat and waiting for the release of Fossil (Two Lions) in early November, just as I am. I cannot imagine the work it takes to create these wondrous images, proof positive that there need not be words to make a powerful story.
On this rainy day, three friends are happily strolling through the park when they approach a spring rider that looks like a dinosaur. The dinosaur has a gift bag hanging from its jaw. Upon checking the bag, the children see that is full of chalk sticks.
Needing no encouragement, one of the girls uses the yellow stick of chalk to begin drawing a sun. In a blinding blink of an eye, that sun drives away the cloudy skies and brightens up the day. The children are astounded and filled with delight, and ready for adventure. An orange chalk summons a host of delicate butterflies.
The young boy is not content with sunshine and butterflies. He wants more, and that is just what he gets when he draws a dinosaur! The children run, screaming in terror. It takes another gem of an idea to ensure their safety and a return to life as it was before they opened the gift bag.
In an interview I heard with Bill Thomson, he talked about the process of creating these realistic and breathtaking images. He takes hundreds of photographs for reference, and uses them to make his illustrations as real as possible for his audience. Each one takes between 60 and 120 hours to complete...now that is dedication. A note about his work at the back of the book states:
"Bill Thomson embraced traditional painting techniques and meticulously painted each illustration by hand, using acrylic paint and colored pencils. His illustrations are not photographs or computer generated images."