Prather’s Pick: Picture book from Richard Byrne spins chalkboard mystery
The leading characters in this week’s picture book are pieces of chalk. “The Case of the Missing Chalk Drawings” was written and illustrated by Richard Byrne, and children will find this story both wacky and lively.
In the story, four pieces of chalk of different sizes and colors are happily drawing flowers on the chalkboard. Orange, pink, and blue flowers decorate the border of the board, and yellow chalk draws a sun above them. That’s when the teacher, Mrs. Red (another chalk), calls the students to lunch.
When the chalks come back from lunch, they’re surprised to find the flowers are gone. Only the bottom parts of the stems and leaves and the sun remain. Who could have taken the flowers?
So, the chalks start a new drawing, but this time, Mrs. Red draws a fence all around the flowers. She tells the little chalks the fence should keep the flowers safe while they go in for a story.
But, it doesn’t.
When they return, the flowers are gone again — and the fence, too. Only three little lines of the drawing remain. It’s clear now someone is stealing the flowers.
So Sergeant Blue arrives in his blue police car. He’s a chalk, too, and wears a mustache. Sergeant Blue finds some evidence. First of all, he measures the distance between two of the lines of the drawing that were left on the chalkboard. He knows how tall the culprit is. He also notices some chalk dust.
Sergeant Blue doesn’t lose any time rounding up suspects. He puts them in a line-up. First, there’s a pencil. He’s too thin. Next is a bottle of glue. The bottle is too small. A pair of scissors is too pointy, a ruler is too tall, and a paint brush is too hairy. Only one suspect is left: an eraser.
Sergeant Blue asks the eraser to turn around. Sure enough, he has a dusty red bottom! However, before Sergeant Blue can lock him up in the chalkboard prison, the eraser flees in a cloud of dust.
The chase is on! The chalkboard is covered with a bunch of colored lines and red dust as the sergeant and chalks try to catch the robber. What to do? Then, Sergeant Blue has a plan.
Children are sure to enjoy this imaginative book.
Byrne, and author and illustrator, has written other books with intriguing titles, such as “This Book Just Ate My Dog” and “This Book is Out of Control.”
All the books are published by Henry Holt and Company, 2018. This week’s book costs $17.99 in hardcover. You can also find it with other new books in the children’s room at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.
When we’re not cooking something on the grill, it’s great to be able to whip up nutritious casseroles for summer dinners. This week’s column features two casserole recipes. I make “Skillet Beef–a-Roni” often. I don’t keep the ingredients for the other casserole on hand so don’t make it as often.