2011's Buckeye Children's Book Award winner for grades 3-5 was Chalk by Bill Thomson. This book is a unique winner in that it is the first, and so far only, picture book winner for grades 3-5! It is also wordless.
The story begins on a rainy day with three children who appear on a playground. They find a bag of chalk left behind, and one girl decides to draw a sun. To their surprise, the clouds disappear and it's sunny now! Another girl draws butterflies -- and butterflies appear! A boy decides to draw a dinosaur, but the three kids quickly regret it when the dinosaur comes to life and they must hid in the nearby slide tubes to escape the scary creature. The boy quickly decides to draw a rain cloud in the slide tube, and the rain dissolves the dinosaur. The kids leave the playground and leave the chalk behind.
I enjoyed how the story ends with the question of, "will anyone else come along and find the chalk?" It reminds me a lot of Jumanji, and how you know the game will be played by someone else, so you can imagine a whole second story on your own. The use of imagination in this story is wonderful.
The pictures are what really shine here. The story absolutely comes through without the use of any words, and Thomson did a fantastic job showing the children's expressions. The illustrations are so vivid and realistic that it's almost like they could jump off the page, and Thomson does an amazing job of using perspective and shading to really enhance the experience. I thought this book was made using a computer, but I was surprised to find out that it was made using acrylic paint and colored pencils! The detail is incredible. I am in awe of Thomson's artistry.
I'm not at all surprised that kids chose this as the winner of the Buckeye Children's Book Award! I am surprised this didn't win a Caldecott Medal in 2011, however. Children enjoy the book for the plot, but I think that speaks volumes for the artistry.
Please join us in our reading challenge! We welcome anyone at any time! :)
For more information, please see this post.