Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Red Chalk

The Red Chalk

Iris van der Heide
Illustrator:  Marije Tolman 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Boyds Mills Press, 2006   ISBN: 978-1932425796

Sara has a stick of red chalk and she tries to draw on the sidewalk with it, but the sidewalk is so bumpy that “none of her pictures turned out right.” Luckily for Sara, Tim is willing to trade his marbles for her “magic” chalk. Sara tells Tim that everything that he draws with the chalk “will come to life.” Not surprisingly, Tim is more than happy to make the trade.

After playing with the marbles for just a short while, Sara decides that the marbles are “no fun at all.”  Down on the beach she sees Sam. Sam has a delicious looking red lollipop, and Sara soon comes up with a way to get Sam to trade her sweet treat for Sara’s marbles; Sara tells Sam that the marbles are “real pearls from the ocean,” and Sam is happy to trade her lollipop for the marbles. The problem is that Sam soon discovers that this trade isn’t going to work for her either.

In this lovely picture book, the author tells a story that some children, and a few adults, will find familiar. Like Sara, many of us are always eager to have what someone else has. We don’t use our imaginations to see that we have right now has great potential. Marije Tolman compliments the text with deliciously emotive illustrations that are touched with humor, and that add a special magical dimension to the story.