When the bouncy ball belonging to the small boy narrator of this story vanishes down a hole in his garden, he is unable to retrieve it, not even with the help of his dog, or his mum. Instead he begins to imagine what might be lurking down there in the darkness. Maybe his red ball has created breakfast-time havoc in the little mouse’s subterranean dwelling or perhaps some frogs are enjoying a game with it. Or, could the occupant be something much larger and scarier like a hungry troll or a fiery dragon? We never do discover what, if anything is residing down beneath the cherry tree but it does make a good talking point with grandparents and the dog definitely enjoys guarding (and dreaming about) the hole and any inmates therein.
Cleverly conceived and beautifully portrayed: I love the subterranean scenes especially those of the troll with a red spherical object on his fork and the minutely detailed, disaster-struck mousehole with its winding staircase. Rebecca Cobb has captured the innocent voice of a child in her straightforward narrative allowing her illustrations to give full rein to his imaginings: and this they most definitely do in the views below ground. Overground, the notion of time passing is conveyed through the garden tree that goes from spring buds to blossom, full leaf, fruiting, autumn tints and winter nakedness under or beside which the human action takes place.