2014 Geisel Honor Award
The cover of this book says it all with its rapturous dog lying on his back, spindly legs stuck out like a turkey at Thanksgiving, and every fiber of his dog being focused on the red ball that lies tantalizingly close to the very tip of his eager nose. Talk about happy.
Here is the story of a dog who is so, so lucky to live in a house with and share a bed with a little red-headed girl who is his complete partner in the utter joy and bliss of playing ball. From the moment their eyes open, it's game on. She throws with great abandon and he chases, nabs and returns with equal exultation. This is living.
But all good things must come to an end and when the clock reaches the party-pooping time of 7:30am "red" has to go to school and that leaves dog alone and in search of someone else who will dedicate his or her life to throwing a red ball around the room.
Sketched in frames across the pages, dog gives it his best shot. He tries everyone and makes up his own games after being spurned. Anyone who has ever wondered what a dog's dream looks like on the inside will savor the dream sequence.
This is happiness to an exponential power as only a dog, a ball and a devoted friend can create. Read, laugh, repeat.