Total Pageviews

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Ball for Daisy, written and illustrated by Chris Raschka. schwartz & wade, Random House. 2011. $19.99 ages 2 and up

"This is the story of a dog and her ball. Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka brings us a tender and beautiful wordless book about what it's like to lose something special - and find a friend."   (from the front flyleaf)

I know a dog who loves his ball. Walks are not popular with my granddog Percy; but, he will play with his ball endlessly, despite panting and tongue lolling and abject fatigue. He has had many - he knows what Daisy had to learn - there will always be a new ball to love!

In this endearing story of a dog and her ball, Chris Raschka is able to capture the spirit, energy and personality of Daisy using minimal lines. The bold color comes in the form of the ball, and it's easy to see the love she feels for that beloved red sphere. In a succession of panels we watch as she shares the sofa, and slumber, with it. A disruption in that nap has her realizing that she could be closer to it, so she moves over and slides back into sleep, satisfied and more settled...all evident in the facing full page illustration.

Her days are filled with delight while playing with the ball at home, or at the park. When the ball is caught behind a fence, she is distraught. When it is returned, she is evidently delighted. An interloper at the park decides to play along. That play is a bit too exuberant and results in destruction. Daisy cannot be consoled. She looks at it in wondering disbelief, shakes it, howls, and mopes. Her owner is sympathetic, but realistic. The ball is trashed.

Nothing helps to ease the pain of loss...until an impromptu trip to the park results in a second meeting with the 'interloper' and a special gift! Ah, a return to peaceful delight!

I am a great believer in the power of wordless books to attract the interest of many of our children. They offer a universal story which can be told in any language, and with a wide range of vocabulary. Little children will understand clearly Daisy's love for her ball by looking carefully at the dramatic, emotion-filled artwork. The horizontal panels are filled with action and quickly drive the plot from one event to the next. There is so much to see and feel...and no need for words to be totally charmed by this book. I love it! 

No comments:

Post a Comment