Monday, February 2, 2009

Daisy Dawson by Steve Voake

So many junior novels intended for children aged 6 to 8 are based around a controlled vocabulary and not a great story so I always enjoy finding a little junior chapter book with a great story such as Daisy Dawson. The premise the gift of talking to animals bestowed because of a kindness is not a new one but the author Steve Voake manages to capture a personality for each animal and he puts an effective ‘gasp’ type twist near the end.

Daisy helps a butterfly out of a spider web and as it flies away she “blinked as the butterfly swooped low past her face, brushing her cheek gently with the tip of its wing. Then it rose once more into the warm air”.

Another feature of this book is the lovely use of language with words such as fizzed, astonishment, satchel, hitched, pirouetted and disdainfully. The author is not talking down to the young reader and he is not afraid to compose more complex sentences.

My favourite character is the squirrel who is working as a spy. His name is delightful – Cyril the Squirrel.

This little treasure will stand beside Mikes Magic Seeds; O’Diddy; Poor Fish and Oliver Sundew Tooth Fairy as a great little early chapter book that I will happily recommend to my students.

I will look out for the second Daisy Dawson book.

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