Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Daisy's perfect word by Sandra Feder, illustrated by Susan Mitchell

Daisy loves words. She loves the way they sound, their many meanings, and the way there's always a word that's just right to describe whatever is happening. She also loves her teacher, who is always sparkling and cries when she gets excited and happy. "Emotional" is one of Daisy's words.

Now that Miss Goldner is getting married at the end of the school year and won't be coming back, Daisy agrees with less-than-favorite classmate Samantha that everyone should give her a present. But what to give? With her best friend Emma's help and lots of thinking, Daisy comes up with the perfect present: a perfect word.

Mitchell's cheerful black and white illustrations show a perky small girl and her happy friends and family. Daisy and Emma bike around town, visit elderly friend Mrs. Bookman, and the candy shop Sweetums. Daisy reads and picks lemons, plays with her younger sister, and avoids the overbearing Samantha. The story is a little heavy on the sweetness and light - Daisy's search for a perfect word is the only issue and even her dislike of Samantha is easily resolved by the end of the story. I'm always a little suspicious of stories where everyone is more or less perfect, especially "I adore my teacher" type stories, and schools that are portrayed sans any kind of bullying or gossip (yes, even first graders gossip and bully each other.) Also, while I certainly enjoy the idea of a world where children spend their time gardening, biking, and reading instead of staring at a screen, I don't think that world exists any longer. However, this is a fun, cheerful story to read for a child who wants something light and happy and parents who are tired of whiny, badly behaving children like Junie B. Jones will be pleased to hand their readers this title.

Verdict: There are plenty of beginning chapter books featuring girls and their relationship with school, friends, and teachers. This new title is sweet and nicely written, but doesn't particularly stand out in the crowd. If you have a limited budget, I'd recommend Princess Posey and Ivy + Bean before adding this title, but if you have a little more wiggle room, this is a good addition to your beginning chapter books.

ISBN: 9781554536450; Published March 2012 by Kids Can Press; Review copy provided by the publisher through Raab Associates; Purchased for the library

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