First reviewed on 3/9/09, Daisy Dawson remains perfect in every way. She is a thoughtful, brave, kind person who can talk to animals and the books about her are the ideal refuge for readers (and parents) who are tired of sassy girl characters and oafish boy characters. And the illustrations are as charming as the title character.
Daisy Dawson is on Her Way! by Steve Voake, perfectly illustrated by Jessica Messerve, is exactly the kind of book I wish there were more of in the world of beginning reader chapter books - a beautifully illustrated, interesting story that is under 100 pages and just right for kids who are tired of Junie B Jones and the Magic Tree House and ready to move one. Although it is ninety-eight pages and six chapters in all, Daisy Dawson is on Her Way! is probably about fifty pages of text, with generous, charming illustrations on almost every page. In addition to being just the right length, Daisy Dawson is on Her Way! has a great plot with a nice twist at the end.
When we first meet Daisy, her mother is reminding her not to dawdle on her way to school because she was late three times last week. That means she had been on time two times, not too bad, Daisy thinks to herself, as she stops to move a worm out of the path. Daisy can't help it, she dawdles. Her next stop is to rescue a beautiful yellow butterfly from a spider's web. As it is flying to freedom, the butterfly's wing brushes Daisy's cheek and she feels a warm, sparkly fizzy feeling rush through her body. She continues on her way, next stopping to talk to the old bloodhound who lives in a field with a tumble-down barn and a white mare. Daisy pulls out the ham sandwich she brought to share with him and calls him over. When he arrives he says, "Good morning. What's on the menu today?" Then he informs Daisy that his name is Boom, not Rover. Daisy is shocked!
It seems as though the butterfly's touch has given Daisy the ability to talk to animals. There is a very funny scene at school when she overhears two escaped gerbils rhapsodizing on the joys of Cheesy Cheddars and convinces them to return to their cage in exchange for two Cheesy Whatsits. She also talks to a lost ant while waiting in the principal's office and helps him to find his colony. But, the climax of the story is the disappearance Boom and Daisy, Cyril the Squirrel and Meadowsweet the Horse's plan to rescue him. The twist at the end comes when, the day after the rescue, Daisy thinks she has lost her ability to talk to animals...
But, fear not! Daisy still has her special ability and in her next book, Daisy Dawson and the Secret Pond, she uses it to talk to a pair of shy otters. This book is available in paperback and is guaranteed to be a hit with any girl who is reading at a high first grade or second grade level. Book Three, Daisy Dawson and the Big Freeze comes out this fall. I can't wait for Daisy Dawson and her adventures to begin taking up more shelf space in the beginning reader's section at the bookstore!
Daisy Dawson on the Farm is the newest title in the series!
Readers who enjoyed this book might also like:
Travels with My Family by Mary Louise Gay
The Lighthouse Family by Cynthia Rylant