by Cécile Boyer
Chronicle Books 03/11/2014
Age 3 to 5 48 pages
** First published in France in 2013, under the title Rebonds by publisher Albin Michel Jeunesse, Paris, France.
“Follow that ball! Wherever the bouncing red ball goes, a playful fog is close behind. Where will the chase lead? Turn the inventive flaps to find out! Keep an eye on the ball—and the dog—and prepare to be delighted by the surprises that ensue!”
A dog follows a buoyant red ball and delightful disruptions ensue! Wherever the ball goes, the dog is close behind, enthusiastically in pursuit. Children and adults alike will delight in this simple story rendered in inventive flaps that reveal a variety of situations and characters, all of whom come into contact with the dog and the ball. With a fast pace and unique story arc–16 sequences that stand-alone and yet are all interconnected children and their parents with be engaged and amused, all while having the sense that they are propelling the action forward with every turn of the page.
A cute yellow dog, perhaps a yellow lab, ran after a red ball. Was it his? The ball took a bounce up onto a trampoline, while a young boy and girl played. The red ball bounced forward, then backward as the yellow dog jumped onto the trampoline. The boy reached for the red ball, but the girl had snagged it. She tossed the red ball, all while a younger tike watched from a jumpy toy. “JUMP!”
The yellow lab watched the ball fly through the air and bounce off the head of a young boy. The boy grabbed the red ball, ready to throw, but his father pointed and yelled. He looked angry. The young boy smiled and threw the red ball. “CATCH!”
On and on the yellow lab raced for the red ball. With the exception of five action words—JUMP, CATCH, RUN, FETCH, and GO—the story is all illustration and depends on where your imagination takes you. I wrote out the action, without elaborating, and ended with 6 paragraphs and 568 words. There is a lot going on in the story. Nearly all is up to the reader’s interpretation, but there are surprises for the observant. I like this. Run, Dog can be a different story with each reading. The only constant being the yellow dog racing after the red ball.
The red ball rolls into the park, a zoo, through a bus stop, and finally lands at the feet of a man reading a book. Could he be reading Run, Dog? Could he be the one the yellow dog owns? The ending remains the same. The boy who had been reading, the yellow dog, and the red ball all leave together. The yellow lab—and perhaps the red ball—had quite an adventure. The adventure each has is up to the one reading. Your imagination gets quite a workout. A young child can “read” Run, Dog making up the story while turning the pages, which get smaller and return to correct size in two spread sets.
I love the scene with the birds. The yellow dog loses interest in the red ball and goes for the birds, which have multiplied and go after the young couple on the bench. It is Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds, which only adults, and kids into such movies, will consider making it a part of their story. This brought a smile to my face when I thought of it. Kids may see the birds trying to get at whatever the couple is eating, if they are eating. Maybe the birds are chasing away the couple so they cannot get the red ball. Do the birds want the red ball? Will they play with the dog? Just what is going on here?
There are many scenes with several things going on at once. At the bus stop, a man reads a newspaper while another man sits next to him and a boy stands, listening to music. They all get involved with the red ball. First, it bounces on the newspaper reader’s head, who must blame the man sitting next to him, as they get into a fistfight. An older woman raises her hands as if to say stop, while the two men duke it out. The kid listening to music catches the ball as it bounces off the man’s head and tosses it, telling the dog to GO! Phew! That is a lot of action.
I really like Run, Dog. When I first read the book, I wondered what I would be able to write in a review. Initially I was stumped. Then I slowed down and as I looked at every page, a story emerged. How cool is that? Run, Dog is not a simple story of a dog chasing a ball. It is any story you want it to be. It is a bedtime, story time, quiet time, classroom story time, anytime story. Young children will love these stories as will their parents, who do not need to fear boredom as they read Run, Dog for the fifteenth time . . . that day.
Learn more about Run, Dog! HERE.
Find out more about the author/illustrator, Cécile Boyer: website
RUN, DOG! Text and illustrations copyright © 2013 by Cécile Boyer. Translations copyright © 2014 by Chronicle Books. Reproduce by permission of Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.
Other Books by Cécile Boyer
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