Loris and the Runaway Ball is a simple and lovely universal storybook app about the dangers of running into the street after a run-away ball.

As a parent, one of my biggest concerns is that my fearless child will run into the street to collect a stray ball or other toy and get hit by an oncoming car. As much as we talk about this in order to reinforce this important lesson, I worry that it is never enough for this utterly crucial message to sink in.

This is a sweet story, told from the point-of-view of a loving older brother Lincoln, about how one day he is playing with his little sister Loris and their ball rolls into the street, and now lincoln needs to save his sister from her horrible decision to go after the ball. Luckily the older brother does get to his sister just in time, something I have not yet had to do, and hope I never have to.

It is especially nice that there is a point in the book where the reader gets to choose a better way to collect one’s ball, specifically asking for help from the daddy, kind neighbor or older brother. I like that this book not only teaches what not to do, but gives the reader some good things to do instead. I appreciate that at the end of this book, one has a chance to make another choice without having to read the book from the beginning to do so. Subtle animations are also included such as the family looking both way as they cross the street to collect their ball that creates a nice effect, further demonstrating the safety lessons learning in this storybook.

The hand-drawn illustrations are colorful and appealing, as are the friendly animals within this story. I like that this storybook touches upon this tender brother-sister relationship as much as it talks about street safety. Without narration, this is a lovely book to read to a child; its prose is simple but well written, and would also make a good first reader as well.

My son enjoys this book a lot and asks for it, calling it “the story about the ball and the kids,” and spends a lot of time choosing different ways of correctly getting the ball back. After reading this book the first time, I asked him what he learned and he said “a lot about language” which was not what I was expecting, but this is true as this book, being so simply written has moments where it is actually quite poetic, something my son, a seasoned story listener now recognizes.

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