The Wishing Ball

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Nellie is a stray cat who wishes she had a house to live in,

warm meals, and a best friend. When a crafty crow overhears her wishing, he decides to play a trick on her for his own amusement - which is how Nellie ends up putting all her faith in a rubber ball she believes to be a magic star that grants wishes. But even though it's not a magic star, the rubber ball turns out to be just what Nellie needs. When the ball bounces out of her grasp, ...

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Overview

Nellie is a stray cat who wishes she had a house to live in,

warm meals, and a best friend. When a crafty crow overhears her wishing, he decides to play a trick on her for his own amusement - which is how Nellie ends up putting all her faith in a rubber ball she believes to be a magic star that grants wishes. But even though it's not a magic star, the rubber ball turns out to be just what Nellie needs. When the ball bounces out of her grasp, Nellie chases it into a faraway town, and one by one, all of her wishes come true.

This is the story of a delightfully surprising chain of events,

with lively illustrations, a colorful cast of creatures, and hidden details on every page.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
An entire world appears on the front cover of this delightful story of the friendship that develops between Nellie the cat and Ernst the crocodile (yes, the Ernst from Puddle Pail). If one looks carefully, the entire story is revealed in the cover art—my aging eyes just had to squint a bit to spot Ernst drawing his lion picture on a far away sidewalk. Nellie lives in a peach box, but longs for a warmer home and something to eat. A naughty crow decides to amuse himself at Nellie's expense. The crow convinces the sweet little cat that his rubber ball is a magic wishing star that has fallen from the sky. After giving the ball a huge bounce that sends it flying out of Nellie's reach, he tells her that all she has to do for three wishes to come true is to catch the ball, bounce it herself, and catch it again. Poor Nellie tries in vain to catch up with the ball as it bounces from her reach numerous times, until she can no longer see where it has gone. Then she sees Ernst creating a chalk drawing of a lion and realizes he is using the red ball for the nose. Nellie tells Ernst about the ball's magic and he makes some wishes, but nothing seems to happen. They both think that their wishes have not come true. Then, Nellie's disappointment and outrage at the crow's trickery causes her to leap up in a snarling, roaring bundle of orange fur that makes Ernst think of his lion coming to life. When Ernst invites Nellie to his home for lunch and his mother asks her to live with them, Nellie realizes that her wishes for a warm home, something to eat, and a friend have all come true. Old Mr. Crow reappears and is ready to taunt the little feline again. When he learns that both Ernst and Nelliefeel that all of their wishes have been granted, he hurries to try to find the magic star ball for himself. Nellie and Ernst had both wished to be friends and their wishes were certainly granted. If you are familiar with Kleven's art you will not be disappointed with this latest treasure, and if you are not, I suggest that you treat yourself to all of her other splendid, bouncy, breezy, perky (oh, I could go on), simply "fantabulously" illustrated books. 2006, Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 3 to 8.
—Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Nellie, a stray cat, wishes on a star for a warm home and good food. A crow, wanting to have some fun at her expense, gives her a ball and tells her that it is a magic star that will make her wishes come true. As Nellie wishes on the ball, it rockets away with her chasing after it. It leads her through a river, past a dog, and to a faraway town where she meets a crocodile named Ernst who takes her home, feeds her, and becomes her friend. The text is written in a choppy manner, lacking the flow of a well-developed story. It is, however, enhanced by the vivid watercolor, ink, and cut-paper illustrations that lend warmth to the story. The small details in them will be especially intriguing to young readers.-Rebecca Sheridan, Easttown Library & Information Center, Berwyn, PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Nellie, a lonely, hungry stray cat, dreams about a wishing star that will make her wishes come true. Overhearing her, a trickster crow dupes Nellie into believing that the shiny ball he holds out to her is magic. Wishing for warmth, a meal and a friend and following the rolling, bouncing ball ultimately leads Nellie to encounter Ernst, a chummy crocodile who makes his own wishes and grants Nellie all three of hers. Now it's the crow's turn to, well, eat crow and off he flies, never to return. The illustrations are the real "star" of this sweet but thin story. Kleven's colors are bright and cheerful, her characters are charmingly expressive and her brushstrokes are lively and energetic. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374384494
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 2/21/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.31 (w) x 10.18 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

ELISA KLEVEN is the author and illustrator of many books for children and most recently illustrated The Whole Green World

by Tony Johnston. She lives in Albany, California.

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