100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Book Review: Round Like a Ball!

Round Like a Ball!
By Lisa Campbell Ernst
Blue Apple Books
ISBN: 9781934706015
Grades PreK-2
In Stores


Often, die-cut books fall flat for me. I open them up, flip through the pages, and quickly realize that the story is just a vehicle for the cut outs. Fun for a minute, but that’s about it. “Round Like a Ball!” is better than that. With a story that reads like a guessing game as die-cuts slowly reveal the answer, this one stands out.

The fun begins on the first page, with a simple sentence: “Let’s play a guessing game”. On each successive page, the reader is given another clue as a cast of characters make their guesses one by one. Sister, brother, dad – each put in their two cents about what the object could be. All the while, a circular cut out keeps getting bigger and bigger, slowly showing the reader that the object in question is Earth. The final page gives some tips for protecting our planet.

I haven’t read this with kids yet, so I’m wondering how well the guessing game will work. I’m curious how quickly youngsters will come up with the correct answer. That will have an effect on the success of this book.

The collage illustrations use tiny brush strokes and roughly mixed paints. Characters are depicted with rounded features, adding up to an attractive whole.

So if you’ve given up on cut-out books, thinking they’re all show and no substance, take a look at “Round Like a Ball!”. A pleasant surprise.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. This is not even close. I have a copy of Kevin Brooks’ Candy that is not that old but that has all but imploded. Scuffed and torn mylar, water stained pages, loose binding, missing pages, dog chew marks. Your Grinch would constitute almost new in my library!

    Better to wear out than to rust out!

  2. Scope Notes says

    I’m assuming this was meant for my Most Well Read Book Ever post.
    In response to your comments: I feel an all out ugliest book throwdown coming on. I envision children’s book types from all over sending in their picture of the rattiest book they can find. The winner takes home a roll of 3M book tape – what do you think?