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THE RED CHALK by Iris van der Heide


by Iris van der Heide & illustrated by Marije Tolman

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-932145-79-6
Publisher: Lemniscaat/Boyds Mills

In a tale that decidedly misses the mark, a child keeps trading toys and other items because she becomes bored with them—but at the same time shows a vivid streak of imagination. Dissatisfied with her sidewalk pictures, Sara “tricks” Tim into exchanging his marbles for her chalk by billing it as magic chalk that will make drawings come to life. As Tim happily disappears with the large dragon he creates, Sara discovers that the marbles won’t roll straight, so she convinces Sam that they’re real pearls and trades for a lollipop. Coveting Rob’s yo-yo, she promises him that a lick of the lollipop will turn him into a scientific genius. And so on. Rich in fine detail, Tolman’s pretty, delicately drawn illustrations show Sara racing away with each new possession as, behind her, its delighted former owner is immersed in a bright new playscape. Ultimately, that chalk comes around again, and Sara concludes that she can at least draw a hopscotch board and invite all of her friends to play. Readers will be unmoved by the weak ending, and even non-reflective ones will come away wondering why Sara doesn’t just put herself into one of her own enticing scenarios. (Picture book. 6-8)