A Ball for Daisy
By Chris Raschka
Schwartz and Wade Books
As I may have mentioned, one of my sons is a librarian at our local public library. This is a great help to me in so many ways! For one thing he always has the “inside scoop” on the newest books as they arrive in the library and he’s always looking for ones he thinks I might like. When he comes over for dinner, he’ll often bring some books for me to preview. Then usually on the next holiday, there is that book tied up with a ribbon! And if HE isn’t giving me a book, then my husband or one of my nieces will surprise me with a newly published picture book. For Mother’s Day, 2012, Adam surprised me with A Ball for Daisy. Of course any gift from your children is special, and this was no exception! This book happened to be the Caldecott Medal Award Winner for 2011. This medal is awarded each year to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. Once you read this book, I think you’ll agree the committee made a great choice!
A Ball for Daisy is a wordless picture book. I immediately fell in love with the adorable dog, Daisy, but I wasn’t at all sure how I would share this with my first grade classes. I knew they would love the illustrations and find Daisy very appealing, but how could I “read” it to the children? However, I was determined to do just that! When my first class came to the library I still didn’t have a plan, but then as we discussed the cover of the book and what it might tell us about the story, it came to me. I would have the children create the story to go along with the pictures! They loved the experience and all wanted a chance to contribute – even the children who rarely were brave enough to raise their hand. I especially loved their reactions when Daisy’s ball popped. They showed so much empathy for Daisy and immediately related her experience to experiences in their own lives. I’m always striving to teach children to have more empathy for others and suddenly that was happening during my lesson. Wow! What a great bonus! In fact, A Ball for Daisy turned out to be one of everyone’s favorite story times.
I highly recommend sharing this book with your children or your class and using the same method. You and your child could take turns making up the text for each page. The children will gain confidence in their creativity from this experience, they will gain language practice and most importantly they will have some one on one time with mom or dad.
If you find that you and your child have fun with the wordless picture book technique, here are a few more you might try:
Zoom by Istvan Banyai
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno
Daisy Gets Lost by Chris Raschka
Do You want to be My Friend? by Eric Carle
Journey by Aaron Becker
After reading several of these, your child may be inspired to write their own story for one of these books or create the illustrations and the text for a book of their own! Let me know about your experiences with wordless picture books with your child. Do you have some other favorites?