The Black and White Ball

Children - Fable
52 Pages
Reviewed on 07/21/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite

The Black and White Ball is a captivating animal fable for beginning readers. Owen Roberts has a splendid gift for creating likable anthropomorphic bird characters who echo the real personalities children see in the world around them. The Black and White Ball’s laid-back, simple style educates young readers in the bad consequences of greed and envy while keeping things light. In an imagined ancient time when currently drab birds have garish rainbow feathers, the arrogant Peacock resents the competition the other colored birds give him. He invites the other birds to a “ball” and, once they are together, uses the magic of a sinister spirit to strip them of their colors. But in the end, it is the Peacock himself who regrets this action the most.

The Peacock and the other birds in The Black and White Ball were charming and realistic. The storyline is simple, but not simplistic — the other birds, such as the self-dramatizing Willy Wagtail, rude Crow, and dishonest Currowang - are not perfect. But they are willing to let other birds exist without taking away their color, and the Peacock suffers for his greedy hostility and desire to have everything for himself. Owen Roberts deftly uses the symbolism of color — enhanced by beautiful illustrations from talented artist Linda Cowen - to present the importance of valuing the gifts and beauty of other people. While not hammered, the message is clear and an important one for children and parents to read and discuss together. A delightful story reminiscent of the Just So Stories and Aesop's Fables.