Daisy Dawson and the Big Freeze written by Steve Voake, illustrated, RL 2 illustrated by Jessica Messerve, 83 pp,

Daisy is back in her third adventure!  Steve Voake and Jessica Messerve, creators of Daisy Dawson is on Her Way and Daisy Dawson and the Secret Pond continue the adventures of this little girl with the magical gift - Daisy can talk to animals!

A snowy day begins with the trek to Nettlegreen Primary where Daisy is in charge of cleaning the gerbil cage.  Of course this means a conversation with Burble and Furball, who are intrigued by the snow.  After a brief assembly during which the principal tells the children that "If People are Sensible, Snow Can Be Fun," Daisy heads out to the playground with Burble and Furball in her pockets, ready to give them a taste of the season.  On the playground they see Hazel and Conker, the squirrels, who invite the gerbils to jump on their backs for some "slippey-slidey" down the snow covered slopes.  

On the way home from school, Daisy and Boomer, her basset hound best friend, discuss the new lambs put out to pasture with their mothers.  Born into a snowy world, Daisy and Boomer are realize that "they've never tasted grass or felt the sun's warmth or seen flower petals fluttering in the breeze.  They don't know how sweet the earth smells just after a rain shower."  "But just think, they have all those  wonderful things to look forward to."  Boomer introduces Daisy to Shirelle, the head of the flock, who is surprised to hear a girl talking to her.  But, before they can get much talking done, Lillian rushes up to tell Shirelle that the little lamb Woolverton has wandered off again.  Ricky Round-Up, the sheep dog, knows just where he is, though, and everyone traipses down to the river to bring him home.  When Woolverton disappears again, this time over the bridge and into the forest where Ricky refuses to go (he lost his beloved red rubber ball there and is sure that if he goes to the forest again he will lose something else he loves.  Daisy and Boomer trudge through the snow and over the bridge into the forest to find a badger and a talking thorn bush that turn out to be Woolverton.  He was looking for Ricky's ball and found it but got stuck.  Reunited, the grateful flock serenades Daisy in the snowy moonlight then, using a ball of wool, shows her how to make a web of friendship.

Steve Voake has a magical way of keeping his stories short and sweet while also packing in a wonderful array of characters and adventures.  Jessica Messerve's illustrations are perfectly matched with the story - I can't imagine anyone else illustrating this series.  Daisy Dawson is a great bed time read aloud for kids ready to move from picture books to something longer and also a great stepping stone for readers ready to move past beginning readers titles.

Next summer we can look forward to Daisy Dawson at the Seaside!

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