Detectives Fox and Goat use their powers of deduction to locate the titular lost bouncy ball.
Setting out with lofty goals—to teach visual discrimination and the process of elimination, with a lesson in opposites along the way—the book opens with a glimpse at the eponymous small ball boinging away. On each subsequent page the animal sleuths locate a different ball and explain which characteristics differ from the lost ball: A football is the wrong shape; a tennis ball has an incorrect texture. Its concept is swell, but the execution lags. Only one of the oppositional pairs is clearly shown, making it challenging to compare the two balls, and a vague page of “clues” at the end is useless. The case closes when a stalwart pup delivers the ball to the crying child, an ending that may satisfy observant readers who spotted the dog, ball in mouth, on earlier pages, but it will disappoint those invested in solving the riddle via clues. Equally pallid computer-generated art features a distracting background starburst motif, and the heavily stylized animals, with dark shades for Goat and awkwardly fitted props for both, edge toward uncanny. The detectives appear in a second, similarly flawed book attempting to locate a young black child’s Lost Race Car from among a barrage of vehicles.
Upon further investigation, this board book is better off skipped. (Board book. 2-4)