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Author: Sullivan, Mary
In a close-to-wordless picture book, we see a dog's day-to-day struggle with trying to find a partner to just throw the ball.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Beginning Reader Honor, 2014
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/13)
School Library Journal (03/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (05/13)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2013 K-Gr 2—A humorous portrait of a dog with a one-track mind. Ball is a day-in-the-life portrait of a rumpled canine who lives and breathes to play fetch with his favorite human companion. When the girl goes to school, the dog is bereft; his beloved ball is lifeless. He tries to find other companions to fill the ball-throwing gap, but the adult is meditating, the baby isn't even mobile, and the cat is, well, a cat. The dog tries hiding the ball and then "finding" it, and eventually falls asleep and experiences an amusing ball-themed dream sequence that turns into a nightmare. At long last the pup's anguish is relieved as the girl comes home from school and they resume their happy rapport. The only text is the word "ball" repeated on every page; however, Sullivan adroitly infuses the canine with a wide variety of emotions, and a great deal can be read into that single word. The book uses a comic-strip layout for most of the pages, with a few spreads during the dream sequence. The digitally colored pencil drawings are full of action and energy and employ a muted palette dominated by yellows and oranges that give the book a warm 1970s feel. The proliferation of extra textures and flourishes that break the panels creates a lived-in, disheveled look to the drawings, which suits the bug-eyed, warts-and-all style used for the figures. A fine choice for independent readers and dog lovers everywhere.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, White Bear Lake, MN - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/01/2013 Bound like a picture book but a comic book in spirit, this title features a funny animal parading through clean, clear panels of sequential art, taking clever advantage of the form’s codes and symbols to tell the story of a love affair between a dog and a ball, an object which becomes the story’s single, repeated word of text. As the dog watches his master leave and wanders the house looking for someone to play ball with, his desperation and excitement are positively palpable. Working with classical cartooning devices, like large, round heads, big expressive eyes, and extreme emotional reactions, Sullivan has managed to create her own distinctive style, giving each character its own particular sense of humanity (even characters that aren’t human) and wrapping everything in a gentle yellow wash of nostalgia. Everything from the dog’s brief encounter with a cat to his extended, ball-centric dream, told in full-page drawings, will make viewers giggle along with the story. Even those who have never had or wanted a dog will find themselves pining for a canine companion with similarly irresistible exuberance. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2013 This one-word picture book follows the adventures and dreams of a dog from the time his young mistress wakes up to when she returns from school. Our single-minded canine hero revels in a game of fetch with his beloved red ball until his girl has to depart. While she’s gone, he hopefully brings the ball to the little girl’s mother, baby sister, and cat, but all in vain; he then dozes off, dreaming ball-themed dreams, and not long after he reawakens, the girl returns and they’re back at their game again. Though the dream sequence is a needless diversion, the story’s tight comic focus and surprisingly eventful narrative make it absorbing and appealing for youngsters, and the single word “Ball,” which appears in speech balloons for the girl and thought balloons for the dog, is effectively imbued with a range of emotion. The illustrations are composed of pencil linework with digital coloring, mostly in warm golds and peaches that allow the red ball to stand out; scenes are generally bordered in panels that have informal, sketchy borders that could be either decorative or amiably moth-eaten. Those words pretty much cover our pooch protagonist, too-a squat, well-fed little critter with a pokey snout, he’s endearingly real in his eager lack of beauty, and Sullivan deftly captures doggy poses that run the spectrum from ecstasy to dejection. While this could also be treated as a picture book, this will be a natural decode-alone for kids who are accustomed to parsing pictures, and they’ll delight in the ability to read it all themselves. DS - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.