A chipper, all-knowing bouncing ball brings friendship and comfort to a group of suburban kids in the Bradshaw’s debut children’s book.
Devon resigns himself to another dreary day in the suburbs as he stands despondently in his yard. Then, out of the blue, a magical talking ball, which he names Bouncy, bounces in to offer a cheerful lift to his day and a desire to play. Devon befriends the ball and they begin an earnest investigation into the world around them, with Bouncy offering fun facts that delight Devon. He introduces Bouncy to his friends, Kate and Josh, both equally isolated and bored on their own. With unashamedly enthusiastic energy, the three begin to explore topics that run the gamut from facts about the White House to the definition of a noun and the five senses. Thanks to the knowledgeable ball, the children learn the seeds of philosophical and practical discussions in a story rounded with a racially diverse cast, which adds to the book’s open and inclusive tone. The appealing full-page illustrations by Guiza—they run nearly parallel the story but couldn’t quite serve as a standalone narrative due to a few missing frames—portray children in a world curiously free of adults, the implication being that they lack, at least for the afternoon, any sort of guidance, love and positivity in an otherwise slightly drab existence. So Bouncy saves the day for the bored kids. Surreally, only children can hear him. The story unexpectedly raises questions about creationism when the kids and Bouncy seek to discover Bouncy’s “beginnings.” The answer to that question is much bigger than this short, simple but delightful book—although it’s unclear if that journey, perhaps in a sequel, would take the kids to bible school or the ball plant.
A colorfully fun book that promotes team work, curiosity and the power of imagination.