Ever read a book that you were “eh” about, yet you did not really dislike? That is The Case of the Missing Chalk Drawings. Richard Byrne creates a mystery aspect that is clever and fresh. However, the ending is a little “happy” for my personal tastes. Most people, however, will enjoy the modern story format and ending.
The story is unique in the aspect the people are Chalk People. They have fun drawing outside, until it is time for Mrs. Red to call them in for lunch and later for a story. But when they come back to their drawings, both times, someone has stolen them! All that is left is part of the drawings and a lot of red chalky dust. Who might the thief be? A clever trap set up by Sergeant Blue and a lesson for all, wraps the case up nicely.
And there is where Byrne lost me. I am not hating the ending but do find that it was just not as satisfying as I could have hoped for. With that said, it reminds me of a brighter, goofier When Pencil Met Eraser. The initial story is different (Chalk is about finding out who “done it” and Pencil knows who is doing it). But the fact that the chalk and the “thief” should work together, and Pencil and Eraser learn that working together is the best, is the tie in. Also, this is like The Day the Crayons Quit.
Like the text, the illustrations are goofy. Not in a bad way, but in a fun, bright cartoony way. They remind me of a cartoon short you would find in an old school cartoon show. I hope I will be able to speak with Byrne when he does an event at the bookstore I work at on the 31st of July. I am interested in learning more about these Chalk people and how they came to life.