Synopses & Reviews
25th Anniversary Edition.
Catch. Throw. Uh-oh. The yellow ball is forgotten at the edge of the water. Little by little, so no one notices, the ball floats out to sea. All alone, it travels and drifts into a storm. Tossed by waves all through the night, it sails ashore next day to a hug and a home. Luminous pastels and a rhythmic text tell a story that is exciting and reassuring.
"Forgotten at the water's edge, a ball is pulled into the ocean by the tide and eventually washed up on another shore. Told in a mere 28 words, this tale could be slight, but in Bang's (The Paper Crane; Ten, Nine, Eight) experienced hands, it becomes a fully realized drama. The yellow ball, tiny in a vast, vivid sea, bobs along and is viewed from the perspectives of a gull and a fish, and from "high" above a bridge. Then a storm arises, but the ball outlasts the gale and is finally deposited safely on a beach--where it is spotted by a boy. The final illustration depicts the sleeping lad hugging his newfound treasure. The one-word accompaniment to this gratifying scene at the end of an arduous journey is, simply and satisfyingly, "Home." Ages 2-up." Publishers Weekly
"The prodigiously talented Bang uses pastels, tempera paint, and some collage to create shimmering pictures of beaches and the sea in this story about a yellow ball that is lost in play. She employs unusual perspectives, rich colors, and wonderful textures as the ball goes to sea through a storm and a night to another sunny, empty beach where a little boy finds it and rapturously carries it home. The brilliant light on the final beach and the tenderly portrayed mother and child who joyously find the ball are almost worth the whole book. Unfortunately, the simple text creates a jarring effect and the resulting story line seems arbitrary. Somehow the movement and pace is off, and readers' emotions are not engaged. The young people who lose the ball look like adults on one page and children on the next. The concepts used don't quite fit. For example, "catch" and "throw" don't match the gestures they caption. The panel captioned "above" suggests a picture of the sun as much as a ball. The placement of the ball in subsequent pictures creates a sense of dislocation rather than coherent movement. This simple picture book could be seen as a story of a carelessly treated toy finding a loving home, but the beautiful pictures call for poetry, not abrupt phrases. An unsuccessful work by Bang is better than many picture books on the market, but she has set a fine standard, and this effort falls short. Large collections will want it for the high calibre of the art." Marilyn Iarusso, New York Public Library
About the Author
Molly Bang is an award winning children's book illustrator and author. Her
works include 3 Caldecott Honor Books: Ten, Nine, Eight, The Grey Lady and the
Strawberry Snatcher, and When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry, which
also won a Jane Addams Honor Award and the Arbuthnot Award. The Paper Crane
won the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award in 1987; Goose won the School of Library
Journal Best Book of 1996 and another work, Common Ground: The Water, Earth,
and Air We Share, won the prestigious Giverny Book Award in 1998 for the best
children's science picture book. Her latest book, My Light, is an ALA Notable
book. Her only work for adults is Picture This, which shows how an understanding of
the most basic principles enable a person to build powerful pictures. It is
used by art and graphic departments in colleges around the country.
Bang received her bachelor degree from Wellesley in French, and Masters in
Far Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona and at Harvard. She has also
worked as a reporter; as an educator for public health projects in Bangladesh
and in Mali, West Africa, incorporating information on maternal and child
health into stories; and as a teacher in colleges.