The Chalk Giraffe
What if your drawings magically came to life, only to prove rather demanding art critics? Oh, the hassle!
In The Chalk Giraffe we follow an artistic child who finds herself drawing a giraffe with chalk… but she is surprised when her creation comes alive and demands changes to his surrounding landscape. What follows is a quirky and humorous tale of creativity and perspective, with the beautiful African landscape as a backdrop to this new and unlikely friendship.
The Chalk Giraffe is Kirsty Paxton and Megan Lötter's first children's book.
Details: 40 pages, 20cm x 20cm, free eBook PDF with softcover purchase, (ISBN 978-0-620-77534-2).
rom South Africa comes the story of a cantankerous giraffe and the budding artist who created him.
A brown-skinned child, with sizable brown afro puffs and a penchant for yellow, applies yellow and orange chalk to a paved road to draw a giraffe that comes alive. Immediately, the giraffe complains that he’s alone and bored with the gray that makes up his created world. In response, the precocious young artist draws him an acacia tree, then bright green lush grass, then stars and a sun. The giraffe volubly finds each improvement wanting, so eventually the exhausted protagonist rubs him, the tree, the stars, and the sun out with a foot—and then regrets the action. Re-creating the giraffe, the artist is surprised when the giraffe grabs the chalk and draws the child into the picture, which allows the child to see that the giraffe is lonely. Together they draw the giraffe numerous animal friends and congratulate themselves on making “great art,” underscoring the value of editing, revision, and precision to the artistic process. For most of the book, black backgrounds highlight the chalky, textured look of the protagonist’s artwork, each page warm with citrusy colors and grounded with earthy greens that add exceptional brightness. The striking art helps to compensate for the pedestrian, singsong-y rhyming verse and the tedium inherent in documenting the iterative process of revision.
Makes the burdensome process of reworking art surprisingly engaging.
From the very first picture of the little girl laying on the pavement, tongue sticking out as she concentrated on her drawing, I was captivated by the illustrations. That first image was just so endearing, especially to this former teacher of the young. The rest of the pictures truly conveyed the excitement and the heart with which the young girl is telling her story. It made me want to grab some chalk and go outside to see what kind of a world I could create as well.
The rhyming story flows nicely off the tongue, making it a great read-aloud. It captures the little girl's excitement as she creates the new world for the giraffe, her frustration with his crankiness, and then her awe as she takes a look at the world from his perspective.
And I love how the giraffe invites her to climb up to see what he sees in the world and how she is able to acknowledge the other point of view. That part could easily lend itself to a great discussion with kids. And of course, make sure there is plenty of chalk available for outside pavement drawing as well as chalk and black paper inside for more creative expression!
This one is a must-have for the school and home library!
This is a delightful children's book about imagination, gratitude as well as learning a bit about the Savannah and the animals that live there. A young girl, who is quite artistic, draws a chalk giraffe that comes alive. The giraffe talks and complains to the young artist who adds more and more to her drawing to make him happy. When he becomes a bit too demanding, she erases him with her foot. Feeling guilty, she redraws him the next day and allows him to help her with the picture. They add all sorts of animals, trees etc. and finally realize what is missing, another giraffe.
The story is told in rhyme and has a good cadence. The illustrations are well done and complement the story beautifully. The vocabulary will challenge younger children, but it is based on what is being drawn, so a gentle explanation will suffice. I liked that this story teaches about gratitude and companionship, as well as promoting imagination and chalk art. I really enjoyed this story and read it with my grandson (over a video chat). He liked it and wanted to go outside and start drawing on the driveway with chalk as soon as we finished. He liked all the animals and knew most of their names. I hope to read it to him again in person soon. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
A captivating read with unexpected twists that keep both adults and children gripped!
Such a fun African tale with a twist—not your typical safari picture book... this one is full of sophistication, enticing children to understand what art and creativity really is with clever rhyme and beautiful illustrations. Love the grumpy giraffe!