Maggie’s Ball

Maggie’s Ball
Written and illustrated by Lindsay Barrett George
Greenwillow Books, 2010

This is Maggie’s Ball.

Now all Maggie needs is a friend to play with.

Will you help her find one?

★  "When a strong wind sends Maggie’s ball bouncing away, the floppy-eared pup sets out on a mission. Through the town she traipses to find her beloved yellow ball. Decoys, including a lemon, a pocket watch and a balloon send her scurrying from market to clock shop and, finally, to the park, where the disheartened dog sits unknowingly near her toy. But the journey isn’t without purpose, as a young girl finds the ball, and, what’s more, a friend in Maggie. George effectively communicates Maggie’s physical and emotional journey through multiple perspectives. Close-ups tell of Maggie’s curiosity, dejection and joy, while aerial-like views create a visual roadmap of the town. The artwork’s flatness hints at pre-Renaissance perspective, but the textures and bright palette—done in a water-based medium—conjure Mexican muralism. A consistent, directional progression of the story, large, easy-to-read type, the challenge of finding the characters and naming the objects and places, and the gentle, sweet ending make Maggie’s adventure a perfect title for young readers, who will want their own pup to play with by tale’s end."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"An eager little dog is looking for someone to play with when her ball bounces down a hill into town. A colorful spread shows the park and four buildings set around it, with many children and adults playing and going about their business. Maggie searches for her ball everywhere, circling the town and looking in all the shop windows. The illustrations are bright and big, as is the minimal text, making the oversize book a winner for preschool storytimes as well as for individual perusings where the ample small details will fascinate children. Eventually, Maggie ends up disconsolately resting near a bench occupied by a girl reading—but wait—is there a yellow ball next to the bench? The little girl asks Maggie to play ball with her, and the pup delightedly complies. The pictures of the dog bursting with joy and happiness when she finds her ball and a friend are priceless."—School Library Journal

"Maggie, an eager chocolate-colored dog with expressive eyes, chases a yellow ball through a small town in this interactive, call-and-response title. Small readers will delight in hunting with her as she cavorts past a market, a pizzeria, a clock shop, and a pet store. Details abound in two-page spreads that have a folk-art feel—a departure for George, whose previous picture books have mostly been done in a realistic style. Small eyes will have to scan closely to tell if the yellow circular objects they see are a ball or simply a pocket watch, a lemon, or a ball of yarn: Is that Maggie’s ball? No. Overviews of the town offer more opportunities to pick out a plethora of circular items (among them a unicycle, hula hoop, and barbells) in a primary-colored sea of activity. The ending features Maggie fetchingly jumping for joy as she teams up with a small girl to play catch. Less challenging than Jean Marzollo’s I Spy series, this makes for a good beginning lesson in the fun of concentration."—Booklist

"This charming, brightly illustrated picture book is a great choice for very young readers and listeners. The easy to follow story of a puppy who loses her ball and has to find it in the town in which she lives will definitely engage the preschool reader. Repetition of words and sentence patterns provides solid cues as to how stories unfold and how certain words work in sentences. The illustrations are vivid and lifelike, with solid attention paid to various facial emotions, especially those of Maggie the puppy as she searches for her lost ball. Bright colors reinforce the positive feel of this book as well as the genuinely friendly interactions among characters. There is a general feeling of goodwill throughout the book that also supports the underlying idea that children can look for help in their community and that neighbors are there as friends. Any young reader will respond positively to this fun text."—Children’s Literature