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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  842 ratings  ·  264 reviews
A dog with a ball is one of the most relentlessly hopeful creatures on Earth. After his best little-girl pal leaves for school, this dog hits up yoga mom, baby, and even the angry cat for a quick throw. No luck. Forced to go solo, the dog begins a hilarious one-sided game of fetch until naptime’s wild, ball-centric dream sequence. The pictures speak a thousand words in thi ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Knock Knock by Daniel BeatyWords with Wings by Nikki GrimesCreepy Carrots! by Aaron ReynoldsFlora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamilloJourney by Aaron Becker
2014 Award Winners
9th out of 72 books — 13 voters
Moo! by David LaRochelleBall by Mary  SullivanBanana! by Ed Vere
One Word Says It All
2nd out of 3 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

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Aw. This book reminds me of my puppy. Not because he was particularly in love with his ball--Actually, my dog was dumb as a box of rocks, and the only way we ever managed to get him to play “fetch” was by having two identical balls. He’d bring one back, we’d hold up the other, he’d drop the first ball in shock, all “HOW U GET MAI BAL I THOT IT WUZ IN MAI MOUF?!” and then we’d throw the second one. Repeat four or five times, until distracted by tree / fence / rock / shoe. Anyway, so not that, but ...more
This book has only one word in it...BALL. It's about a dog who loves to have his ball thrown, but when his human goes to school, no one will throw it for him. This book is so amazing because you feel the emotion of the dog by the way the author writes it. When he is looking for his ball it say, "Ball??" and when he find it, "BALL!!!". The author does a great job in making sure the reader hears the dog's "voice".

I would definitely use this book for my class to see that one word can go a long way.
Can a book be made up of one word? Well, apparently if you are Mary Sullivan, it can be! This is a hilarious story about a dog that is completely obsessed with a BALL! He wakes up his young owner by asking her to play ball ("Ball?") and she gleefully obliges...this gal is going to be the first female most valuable player in major league baseball, I'm telling you! Eventually the girl shows the dog her watch and leaves for school, leaving the dog disconsolate. He tries various other family members ...more
Alyssa Weber
Ball by Mary Sullivan is a simple book that young children are sure to love! The book provides hilarious graphic images for the children to look at. These images allow even the youngest reader to understand what is going on while also allowing them to predict what may come next. Ball only uses on word in the entire text – “ball.” Go figure. However, the constant repetition will not only be enjoyable for the child, it will provide a learning experience. Ball by Mary Sullivan is a great book for t ...more
Very cute book about a dog who loves her ball and her human friend. Great illustrations.
Irina Ryabyy
Ball, by Mary Sullivan, is a Theodor Geisel award winner about a dog and his love for a ball. This book is short, simple and portrays qualities of a comic book. The book begins when the dog and the girl wake up and begin to play with the ball. The dog loves his ball and asks the girl to throw it multiple times before she goes to school. However, when she leaves for school, the dog finds that nobody wants to play with him. He gets lonely and decides to play hide and seek with the ball by himself. ...more
Brittany Martz
This is a cute book that is meant for young children. The book has very few words which allow children to easily read the book on their own. The words are on the page in speech bubbles which are a fun way to show who is talking or what the characters are thinking. The speech bubbles simply say ball all throughout the book. The whole story is about a little girl and her dog who wants to play ball. The dog is desperate for anyone to play ball with him and goes throughout the house and tries to get ...more
Bradley Clay
Ball is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan. The story is about how a dog who is obsessed with his ball. His girl goes to school so he is left with no one to play ball with him. The mom, cat, and baby do not want to play ball or have more important things to do. He is obsessed with his ball and pretty much goes crazy until his girl comes home from school to play ball with him.
Text to Self: This relates to my life currently. My dog is obsessed with her tennis balls. She has m
Ball is a graphic novel for young readers written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan. It goes through the day in the life of a ball-obsessed dog. His girl leaves him for school, and his mom owner is too busy to play with him, and the baby just cries. The cat doesn't want to play with him, either. He practically goes crazy thinking about the ball. Then his girl comes home and plays ball with him again.

Text-to-self: Sometimes I'm so overwhelmed with the want of doing something else during the days.
Tiffanie-ann Bucheit
This graphic novel is about a dog obsessed with his ball. We go through the story following the dog and his struggles to play with his ball until his owner comes home.

Text to self- There are plenty of times throughout the day where I just want to do something but I can’t because I am too busy or have other things that I should be doing. So I just think about what I want to do all day and then end up getting nothing done. Like the struggles of the dog, he can’t do anything with his time because h
Ball by Mary Sullivan is a graphic novel for young children, which depicts the adventures of a dog and his love for the ball. When his best girl pal has to leave for school, the poor dog is at a loss for whom he can play ball with. He tries to get the mom who is in meditation to play, the wailing baby to play, and even the cat to play ball with him. No luck. So the dog begins a one-sided game of ball throwing until he falls asleep and has a “wild, ball-centric” dream until his girl pal comes hom ...more
TED 8650 Children's Literature

This book would enhance my collection because it is very easy to read, as the book only has one word: ball. Though it is used in different expressions (Ball? Ball!), once a young student knows the word, he or she can read the whole book on their own. The story is also easy to comprehend. It is about a dog that wants to play ball. His little girl owner plays with him, but then has to go to school, so he spends the day trying to play ball with everyone else in the hou
Broghan Schlicher
This book is called Ball and is written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan. In my opinion of the story line, it was a story about a dog and his ball. The dog wanted to play with his ball and the little girl played with him early in the morning, then the girl had to go to school, so the dog goes around to the cat, the mom, and the baby to ask if they will play, when no one does, the dog gets sad. Then the girl returns from school, and the dog is happy to play again. This book is a Theodor Geisel Ho ...more
This BOOK. I can't imagine a better early reader--Ball is a picture book describing the relationship between a dog and his girl. The only word in the entire book is "ball", with body language corresponding to the situation. It would be a great one for teaching a child about tone when reading, but it is also just so sweet, fun, and heartwarming that I want to read it again and again. Set up like a graphic novel, it would appeal to a huge age range. I'm so impressed.
This is a wonderful book to introduce children to letters and beginning reading. I used this book with kindergartners. We discussed the letters of the word ball and then "read' the word. This is a nearly wordless book; the only word is ball.

Next, we discussed two types of punctuation: the exclamation point and the question mark and we practiced reading ball with these emotions.

Finally, we discussed the roll of pictures in a story and the students used the pictures and the word ball to tell the s
Sarah Wilbern
Sullivan, Mary. (2013). New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
Geisel Award, Williamsburg Library
Picture Book Soak

This book was very interesting and fun. It was mainly pictures; the only word written was the word “Ball.” The book told the story of a girl and a dog who loved his ball. The dog slept with the ball in the girl’s bed, the girl played ball with the dog before going to school, and when she got home from school. But, during the day the dog tried to find people or other
Jennifer Bane
Text to self: in this book a dog wants to play fetch with his ball with his owner and gets sad when she has to go to school and can’t play until she gets home. This reminds me of my sister when she wants to play and hang out with me when I am home and doesn't like when I go to work or school all the time and she can’t play or do anything with me until I get home or have time off of work to hang out with her.
Text to text: this book reminds me of another book called A Ball for Daisy by Chris Rasch
Allison Barry
Text-to-self: I loved this story because it reminded me of my own dog, Lucy. I have always been a dog person and when I looked up this book, I thought it would be perfect. Lucy likes to play, but she usually plays with stuffed animals and socks...she really likes socks.

Text-to-text: Compared to the graphic novel I read about Bean Dog and Nugget earlier, I liked this one better. The only connection I could make between the two books is that they both feature a dog. Ball does play with your heart
Any dog-owning or dog-loving child will enjoy this journey through a day from the dog’s perspective. It begins with a dog and his owner, a young girl, fast asleep in bed on a school morning. The odd looking, cartoonish, rotund pooch is sleeping with a bright red ball in his mouth. As his one eye opens to verify the awake/asleep status of his best friend, the dog’s first thought is of playing with his beloved ball, thus beginning the first step in this rollicking adventure. The girl awakes to the ...more
Sullivan, M. (2013). Ball. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Choice Book

2014 Geisel Honor

This very cute book tells a wonderful story with just one word, Ball! This is a story of a very precocious dog who loves to play ball. When his owner, a little red haired girl, who plays ball with him has to leave for school, the dog becomes anxious because there isn't anyone to play with him. He tries to get the rest of the family to play, but no one wanted any part of it! He naps and dreams about his bal
Sullivan, M. (2013). Ball. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Additional Information: Primary (K-3)

Summary: Who will play with me? This humorous picture book follows a rambunctious dog and his adventures in looking for someone to play with him, including a round of fetch with himself. Ball? Ball!

Notable Awards/Reviews: Booklist 04/01/13 (Vol. 109, No. 15), Publishers Weekly starred 02/11/13, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 05/01/13, School Library Journal 03/01/13, Horn Book 11/
Ball by Mary Sullivan is a book that has only one word: ball, but the pictures tell a detailed and hilarious story. It is about a dog obsessed with the game of ball and his loving owner who has to head off to school. Although the dog is left at home with a mom and a baby, they do not give him the same attention and love that he gets from the little girl. They also do not play ball with him! Despite many attempts to engage the mom, baby, cat, pillow and even the laundry basket to play ball, he is ...more
Sami Wilson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Berke
How will this graphic novel enhance your collection (positives)? OR Describe cautions/concerns that you have with the book.

This would be a great book for beginning readers. Because the text is so simple (only one word) this is a great way for students to discover HOW a graphic novel works. Because the text is limited, the students would need some understanding of sequence.

Describe a possible application and audience for the book
This book would be an wonderful way to assess primary-aged student
Melissa Piesche
I thought this book was adorable. It was about a dog and his little girl. They play fetch until the little girl has to go to school. Then the dog is alone and has to play with the ball by himself. But when his little girl gets home again they play ball. The theme in this book your loved ones will always be there for you. The little girl will always come back to play fetch with her dog. This book was a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner. I don't really see how this book would tie into school work ...more
Victoria Hylind
This book is so cute and simple for young children to understand. There are few words, and the words that are there are easy for them to read. The story is about a dog who just wants to play ball. Anyone who has ever given a dog a ball knows they just won't give up until someone plays with them. The dog goes to everyone and wants to play ball with them. This story would be good to use for teaching connections because it is so easily relateable. The teacher could read the story and then ask if an ...more
Sullivan, M. (2013). Ball. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children.

Geisel Award- 2014, Junior Library Guild Selection

I Can Read

When a ball obsessed dog's owner leaves for school, this playful pup does everything he can to try and keep himself occupied using his ball. With just one word, “Ball!” this is a great book for very young emerging readers (P-2). During literacy time, this book could be used to introduce the letter Bb. Syllables, letter sound, rhyming words, and handwriting m
So much hope, longing, angst, and pure joy is told in a story with the single word "Ball." I loved this pooch and so wanted to jump in the pages and play with the poor thing.
3.5 Stars I love the book MOO! (another one word book) and I liked this one but not love, the artwork was simple to follow and ---if you have ever been around a will SOOO get the whole ball thing. I think the artwork is well done but very bland! It is all very Yellow to bring out the red ball, I get that, but what makes MOO for me a 4 stars and this a 3 is just who plain the pictures are. Still A good one, an early reader will be so excited to know ALL the words in this book. It is A ...more
Only one word in the whole book. Guess which one. This fat little dog is a sweetheart. Tyler, get this for Crissy, he's very Guadalajara-esque.
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More about Mary Sullivan...
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