Review of ‘This is a Ball’

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Review of ‘This is a Ball’

Written and illustrated by Beck and Matt Stanton

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Age Range: Early Childhood – Lower Primary

Themes: I don’t really know what to write here. No really. I don’t. No idea.

I have had the most evil-librarian fun this year, using ‘The Book with No Pictures’ by BJ Novak and ‘Press Here’ and ‘Mix-it-Up’ by Herve Tullet with classes from kindergarten to Year Six. I love a book that makes me chuckle while I confuse and confound my students (insert evil-librarian laugh).

To add these books to your home, school or library collection click on title links or cover images. 

The three books mentioned above are international bestsellers and deservedly so, but closer to home we now have a book which is just as delightfully frustrating, clever and nuts, ‘This is a Ball’. I love nutty, obscure, dry-witted, creatively brilliant books for young people; nothing better to stretch little minds in all directions and have them question everything they know to be true.

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Husband-and-wife team Matt and Beck Stanton have created a book where everything you read is going to be wrong. Yes really! Everything is wrong but that is okay (really, it’s fine!) because those you read it to will correct you and they’re going to love it!

PudStar’s topic a few weeks ago for Year Two ‘Show and Share’ (what happened to ‘Show and Tell’?! Why can’t we just TELL?) was, ‘find a trick or joke to share with your classmates’. When she read this in her homework books she RAN from the table, BANGED her head on the door, WHACKED the door for getting in her way, GRABBED her new favourite book, RACED back to the table and announced – “this is my trick! I’m going to read ‘This is a Ball’ to my class as a trick book!”.  When I picked her up that afternoon she informed me, “everyone thought it was the best trick. Maybe not {insert teacher name!} because I don’t think she likes tricks…she’s a quite a bit serious mostly’.

Inside Image

‘This is a Ball’ will have you and your young readers is stitches. Your class will be shouting at you and rolling on the ground in hysterics – this is okay. Go with it. If you are so inclined you could go deep and meaningful and discuss perception v reality and the concept of thinking outside the square. But I’m going with pure fun on this one…because all those deeper messages will subconsciously stick in little spongy brains anyway…and sometimes children just want to see an adult being a fool. For more on the importance of humour in children’s literature see here.

Production quality on this one is outstanding and given Matt Stanton is the art director at HarperCollins, it’s a good thing they got it right! The beautiful matte cover and glossy spine is divine and it would be a shame to spoil it with library plastic…and good luck covering it anyway! The book has CURVED EDGES, yes curved edges…see…the craziness starts at the shape of the book. My library tech (who, if I stood still long enough, would cover me in library plastic and spine label me) will be confused, confounded and scandalised by the covering issues associated with this book.

The illustrations are all about colour and lines and I swear the dog (which is an elephant) is Dick Bruno inspired – see image above. The 140GSM paper (I notice these things okay?) is delicious and as I said, the production quality is just all-round outstanding. I’d like a whole set of ‘Books That Dive Kids CRAZY” with different coloured spines and covers, just to sit on my coffee table and look fabulous. Thanks. I’ll send you my address HarperCollins.

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The titles of each book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.

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