cover image A Boy, a Ball, and a Dog

A Boy, a Ball, and a Dog

Gianna Marino. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62672-287-3

Light on words and long on feeling, Marino’s story sails like a kite, an ode to shifting air and blowing wind. “There never was a ball the boy wouldn’t throw,” she writes, as a child in a baseball cap pitches a ball at a scruffy white terrier, “or one his dog couldn’t catch.” The dog, whose eyes glow with love and loyalty, catches the ball. When a red balloon blows along, the dog sets off after it. “This ball,” the faithful dog thinks, “I must catch.” It runs pell-mell across the hills of a small rural community to the end of a long dock, makes a prodigious leap, and gets the balloon’s string in its mouth. But “the boy was nowhere to be found. What good was the ball without the boy?” The dog howls, and the balloon gets loose, drifting back over waving grasses and swaying apple trees in blossom, reuniting dog and boy. Marino (Night Animals) evokes an experience that’s growing rarer—one in which child and animal share deep intimacy, and have time to share that’s all their own. Ages 4–8. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary Agency. (June)