A Ball for Daisy



Wordless story of dog's ball loss mirrors kids' emotions.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids learn that dogs really like their favorite toys, just like kids do, and that nothing lasts forever. They also may learn that expressing their emotions is a healthy way to process bad things that happen. 

Positive messages

It's tough to lose or break something special, but you can get over it and enjoy a new one. 

Positive role models

Daisy is in touch with her emotions, blissfully happy and content when she had her favorite toy, and sinking so low after it's destroyed by another dog that she practically disappears in to the couch. The dog who destroyed her red ball did it by accident by playing rough, but kindly has a new blue ball waiting for Daisy at the park the next time she comes. Both dogs' owners are kind and helpful. 

Violence & scariness

A big dog pops Daisy's red ball. 

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Chris Raschka's A Ball for Daisy won the 2012 Caldecott Medal. This wordless story is simple in its narrative but shows every nuance of emotion with telling detail (perky ears when happy, droopy tail when sad) as the sweet pup loves and loses her favorite toy -- and then delights in getting a new one. 

Kids say

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What's the story?

All is right with the world when Daisy has her favorite bright red ball to play with or sleep next to on the couch, but she plummets into the depths of depression after a bigger dog destroys it. Her joy is restored when she get a new ball, but first she experiences a deep sadness and loss that many kids -- and parents -- will relate to.

Is it any good?


Raschka skillfully conveys every nuance of Daisy's emotions with very few brushstrokes and highlights the important things in Daisy's world with bright color. We see Daisy's exuberance at play, her contentment at rest with her toy, and her anger, disappointment, sadness, and hopelessness when her favorite ball is popped by a big dog at the park. Kids will have no trouble following the emotional terrain as well as the simple plot line. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it feels like when something special is lost or broken. Are Daisy's reactions much different than a kid's would be? 

  • Daisy is drawn with just a few black and gray brushstrokes, and sometimes you can't even see her eyes, but you always know how she's feeling. How does the artist convey her emotions so well? 

  • A Ball for Daisy won an important book award. Why do you think people like it so much? 

Book details

Author:Chris Raschka
Illustrator:Chris Raschka
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Schwartz & Wade
Publication date:May 10, 2011
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):3 - 8
Read aloud:3 - 8
Read alone:5 - 8
Award:Caldecott Medal and Honors

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 4 year old Written byEChilds4 June 29, 2013

A great one!

My 4-year-old loves this story, mostly, I think, because there are no words so she can make up her own to go with the wonderful pictures. The illustrations convey the story and Daisy's emotions so perfectly that, really, no words are needed.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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