The Boy, the Troll and the Chalk

The Boy, the Troll and the Chalk

By Author / Illustrator

David Litchfield, Anne Booth


Mental Health & Wellbeing

Age range(s)











Everybody knew that a big fierce troll lived in the cave.
"Leave me alone!" it yelled.
So everybody did.

Only one child cannot turn their back on the troll at the edge of the playground. One day, he takes his chalks up to the mouth of the cave. He draws a flower with every petal coloured in but one, and leaves the chalk behind. The next day, the flower has been completed. Day-by-day, the boy and the troll finish each other's drawings, until they each draw a portrait, showing a boy holding hands with a fierce, scary troll. "But you're not a troll," says the boy. "You're a boy - just like me."

Patience, kindness and the power of art win out in the end: the two boys wordlessly draw together. Soon all the other children gather to join in with the game. Everyone forgets that there was a troll inside the cave. Because outside the cave, there is so much to draw.

This touching story shows the power of kindness, art and imagination, in the face of isolation and difficult emotions, and delicately embodies the philosophy of art therapy. From the creative duo behind A Shelter for Sadness, award-winning artist David Litchfield's illustrations bring life and colour to this gentle tale of hope and friendship by Anne Booth. The beautiful, textured illustrations are also a joyful celebration of pavement art that is sure to have little ones reaching for their own chalks.



The Boy, the Troll and the Chalk is a poignant story about friendship, perseverance and kindness. Everyone knew that a big, fierce troll lived in the cave. 'Leave me alone!' It would shout. So everyone did. Everyone, that is, except one young boy. Through the power of art and its silent communication, the young boy managed to coax the 'troll' out of its cage. Of course the troll wasn't a troll after all, just another young boy needing some friendship and reassurance that who he was, was good enough.

Beautifully illustrated by David Litchfield, this book grows with colour and form. The pages draw the reader in, enriching and uplifting in text and imagery. This would be a great book to introduce large scale collaborative art work, either in small groups or as a whole class. It would encourage each and every child to contribute their own ideas and thoughts without prejudice or criticism. It teaches us to accept, to celebrate individuality and to acknowledge the creative power of collaboration. A truly wonderful book that would leave a smile on any reader's face.

Picture book / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 5+


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