Nazli Tahvili. London: Tiny Owl, hb, 9 781 910 328 323, 2018, £10.99, 32pp.
Fiction, picture book, 5-7 years
A young boy living in the heart of a busy city spots an eagle swooping overhead, and dreams of what it would be like to fly away and soar over mountains and rivers. Using a little chalk he draws his own eagle – and then himself – into existence. The two fly away together, and embark on a wonderful adventure.
Nazli, the book’s creator, writes:
“The story of Chalk Eagle is based on a memory of my husband’s childhood. His name is Amin and he loves bird and horses. When he was a child, Amin often drew with chalk on the rooftop of his house. His favourite drawing was a big eagle. He would draw the eagle and look at it from the window of his small room on the roof. Or he would lie on it and spread his arms like the eagle’s wings, and fall asleep with the dream of flying.”
Nazli Tahvili is an award-winning Iranian artist and we are very grateful to publisher Tiny Owl for bringing this wonderful wordless book to our attention in the UK. The illustrations are beautiful screenprints in a restricted palette of blues and greens which transport us to this other world. The perspective changes as the boy looks up from the ground and his rooftop, and then down from the eagle’s back ensuring the reader’s concentration and engagement with the story. It is a tale of imagination and hope.
Review by Pam Dix