This Year’s Caldecott Winner – A Ball for Daisy

Wordless stories are winning awards this year – from best picture Oscar for “The Artist” to Chris Raschka’s Caldecott picture book – A Ball For Daisy. In Raschka’s story a lively little white dog (who reminds me of one in my life) chases a big red ball, his favorite toy. He even takes a nap with it (his substitute blankie).

When a playful larger dog sinks his teeth into the ball and pops it at the dog park, our dog hero is soulfully bereft – he can’t even sleep anymore. Eventually, the bully dog’s owner produces another ball for our hero – this one blue – and all is well again. The last frame has him peacefully napping, snuggled up to his new blue ball.

The expressions Raschka draws on the hero will be familiar to anyone who owns a dog; when the red ball pops, he morphs from wonder, to shaking the deflated rubber, to howling, to finally bereavement – in 8 frames with no words.

Whether you read the book as a statement on loss and recovery, or just enjoy Raschka’s emotion-laden drawings, Daisy will become a new favorite character.