Book Review- A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
Raschka, Chris. 2011. A Ball for Daisy. New York, New York: Schwartz and Wade Books. ISBN 9780375858611
B. Plot Summary
Daisy is a fun-loving dog with a special toy- a shiny, chewy, red ball. Not only is her toy a playmate, Daisy sleeps with the ball next to her! One day, the ball accompanies Daisy to the park. All is great until another dog begins to play with her beloved toy. The ball is destroyed, just like Daisy’s heart. Daisy is inconsolable until the next trip to the park, when the same dog that destroyed her red ball, brought her a blue, replacement ball. The story ends with Daisy napping contently alongside the blue ball on the couch.
C. Critical Analysis
The underlying theme of love and loss is portrayed beautifully in Rashka’s wordless picture book. Daisy goes through what all children go through at least once in their lives- the loss of a well-loved possession. Daisy’s feelings for her ball are portrayed without the need for words. Through Raschka’s illustrations, the reader can see Daisy’s excitement and adulation for her red ball. Equally, the feelings are clearly evident when the ball is destroyed by a playmate.
Chris Raschka uses impressionistic style illustrations to portray the story of Daisy and her ball. The colors are light, with natural blends that easily show the reader the time of day, season, and weather. The swirling images are eye-catching, without being over-whelming.
D. Review Excerpts
· 2012 Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner
· Starred review in School Library Journal, 2011 “Raschka’s genius lies in capturing the essence of situations that are deeply felt by children.”
· Starred review in Kirkus Reviews “Rarely, perhaps never, has so steep an emotional arc been drawn with such utter, winning simplicity.”
· Write and illustrate a narrative composition about a student’s own memory of the loss of something important to them.
· Using shared writing, teachers and students can write their own words to accompany the illustrations.
· For English Language Learners, this is a great way for students to feel included in the story. ELLs can create their own wordless picture book to portray a story that is important to them.