Reviews for Ball for Daisy


Booklist Reviews 2011 June #1
This story about loss (and joy) is accomplished without a single word, which is perfect--it puts you directly in the head space of its canine protagonist. The title tells us her name is Daisy, but she is a pretty anonymous little thing, drawn by Raschka as just a few indistinct yet somehow expressive squiggly lines. What's clear is that she loves playing with her ball, both indoors and out, until the fateful moment that another dog bites too hard on the ball and deflates it. In a heartaching series of nearly identical paintings, Daisy slumps into a sofa as depression overtakes her. Dogs, of course, don't know that there are more balls in the world, which makes her glee at the end of the book all the sweeter. Raschka uses fairly sophisticated comic-book arrangements--long, narrow, horizontal panels, and so forth--but masks them with soft watercolor edges instead of sharp corners. The result feels like something of pure emotion. Pretty close approximation of what it's like to be a dog, probably. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
In this wordless story, dog Daisy and her little-girl owner play catch. All goes well until another dog, joining in play, pops Daisy's big red ball. Raschka communicates so much through Daisy's posture, varying the line to echo her emotions. Background washes also reflect Daisy's mood, from bright yellows to somber browns. A satisfying story noteworthy both for its artistry and child appeal. Copyright 2012 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #5
The wordless story begins on the title page, where we see a scruffy little black-and-white dog about to be given a big red ball. It's clear from the start that Daisy loves her new toy. After playing with it inside, she cuddles up with the ball on the sofa and contentedly falls asleep. The real drama begins with a trip to the park, where Daisy and her little-girl owner play catch and have a moment of panic when the ball goes over a fence and has to be rescued. All goes well until another dog shows up, joins in the play, and pops the ball. It's a long walk home with gloomy Daisy, and the subsequent nap on the couch is lonely. In fact, the two contrasting double-page spreads of Daisy napping, with the ball and without it, show the ingenious artistry of Raschka, who communicates so much emotion through her posture. Throughout, Raschka uses broad strokes of gray and black paint to outline the dog, and varies the line to echo her emotions: bold, sure lines when Daisy is happy; shaky, squiggly lines when she is upset. Background watercolor washes also reflect Daisy's mood, going from bright yellows and greens to somber purples and browns. Raschka employs a series of horizontal frames to show sequential action, interspersed with occasional single paintings to show pivotal moments, such as the moment near the end of the book when Daisy gets a brand-new ball, this time a blue one, from the owner of the dog who destroyed her first one. It's a satisfying conclusion to a story that is noteworthy for both its artistry and its child appeal. kathleen t. horning Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

In a wordless book with gentle, dreamlike spreads, Daisy, a feisty, black-eared dog plays with a beloved red ball indoors and out, before a climactic encounter with another dog in the park. Working loosely in ink, watercolor, and gouache, Caldecott-winner Raschka (The Hello, Goodbye Window) alternates between large closeups of Daisy--curled up with the ball on a sofa, looking nervous when the ball lands behind a fence--and smaller panels for action scenes. Raschka conveys a bevy of canine moods (ecstatic, expectant, downtrodden) with brush strokes reminiscent of calligraphy, while the red ball adds striking contrast. When a brown dog causes the ball to pop, Daisy stares at it, nudges it, sniffs it, and shakes it in her mouth before gazing helplessly at her owner. But returning to the park later, Daisy's forlorn expression turns gleeful as the same brown dog reappears with a blue ball, letting Daisy take it home. Readers should relate to Daisy's sadness over the loss of her treasured object while understanding that such losses can sometimes lead to unexpected gains--maybe even a friend. Ages 3-7. (May)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 August

PreS-Gr 2--Ever the minimalist, Raschka continues to experiment with what is essential to express the daily joys and tribulations of humans and animals. This wordless story features Daisy, a dog. The motion lines framing her tail on the first page indicate that a big red ball is her chief source of delight. Ever-changing, curvy gray brushstrokes, assisted by washes of watercolor, define her body and mood. Blue and yellow surround her ecstatic prance to the park with toy and owner. The story's climax involves another dog joining the game, but chomping too hard, deflating the beloved ball. A purple cloud moves in, and eight squares fill a spread, each surrounding the protagonist with an atmosphere progressing from yellow to lavender to brown as the canine processes what has occurred; a Rothko retrospective could not be more moving. Until that point, the action has occurred within varying page designs, many showing Daisy's shifting sentiments in four vertical or horizontal panels. Her attentive human's legs are glimpsed frequently, a sunny child whose warmth is transferred in comforting full view at bedtime. When another day dawns, the frisky dog's person proffers a blue surprise; the exuberance at having a ball and a friend is barely containable across two pages. Raschka's genius lies in capturing the essence of situations that are deeply felt by children. They know how easy it is to cause an accident and will feel great relief at absorbing a way to repair damage.--Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

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