A yellow dog exuberantly chases a red rubber ball through the park, wreaking havoc.
First, the ball bounces off a trampoline onto a child’s head, then it disturbs a flock of birds that in turn upset a courting couple. The ball is nearly swallowed by a giraffe, then it knocks off a man’s hat, causing a fistfight in a bus queue. The dog finally catches up to his master, who sits peacefully reading under a tree, unaware of all the preceding drama. The stylized, silhouetted figures and objects are rendered in a fresh clean palette of grays, baby pink, blue and yellow, with only the ball in red. The limited palette makes the pictures easily legible to young children, while adding a Seuss-ian fantasy element. Some pages are cut narrower, lending a flip-book speediness to the action. Boyer’s book is a fresh European take on older, beloved Spot, with similarly childlike playfulness and humor. However this is not just another retro picture book. The figures are classic silhouettes, but there are contemporary touches: A bystander sports a baseball cap and earbuds, and the young man on the park bench is clad in a hoodie and sneakers.
The text consists solely of commands—“Jump!” “Catch!” “Run!” “Fetch!” “Good dog”—but the illustrations tell a compelling story that young children will enjoy deconstructing for themselves. (Picture book. 2-5)