Sunday 8 December 2013

The Bouncing Ball

The Bouncing Ball by Deborah Kelly, illustrated by Georgia Perry (Random House Australia Children’s)
HB RRP $19.95
ISBN 9780857980045
Also available as an ebook
ISBN 9780857980052
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

It’s one of those great moments of co-ordination when you are little and can finally bounce a ball. When ‘a small boy found a small ball’ on Kelly’s opening page of her picture book, there’s great excitement in the simple use of language to: pick up, bounce, throw and catch the ball. The boy has control over the red ball until it bounces away. Thus begins the first adventure in the story as the ball bounces ‘between two cars … into the gutter … down the drain,’ and ‘out to sea.’

The next turning point in the plot is when the ball is found on a beach by a ‘small girl’ who then uses different actions while having fun, as the ball is ‘skimmed … buried’ and ‘brushed.’

A third turning in the plot occurs when the girl loses the ball as it bounces through the window of a truck.

Kelly uses the conjunction ‘until’ as a page-turner taking the reader on the tangent of other adventures … ‘until’ the ball bounces ‘down a slope off a rock and into a river … never to be seen again.’ The very last page has one word beneath the vivid illustration of a child in a wooden boat following a floating ball along a river bathed in sunset. ‘Until …’, thus allowing the reader to create their own versions of ‘until’ and continue the ball’s journey with their own scenarios.

Illustrator, Georgia Perry’s background in illustration, animation, photography and installation combine in this beautifully designed, evocative and textured picture book. Her bold and bright illustrations not only enhance the rhythm of Kelly’s words; they also add humour to the ball’s various journeys.

What’s also great is the picture book’s wide appeal. Children of all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds can connect with the experience and joy of playing with a ball.

The endpapers are filled with different coloured balls; enough for everyone’s imaginative adventures.

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