Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Daisy's Big Night - a book review

Quote of the Day:

"A  quotation in a speech, article or book is like a rifle in the hands of an infantryman. It speaks with authority."
                                              -Brendan Francis

Title: Daisy's Big Night
Author:  Sandra V. Feder
Illustrator:  Susan Mitchell
Ages:  7- 10

This great book is the 3rd book in the Daisy series which introduces children to the satisfaction of independent reading and the pure joy of playing with language.

Daisy is a creative, free spirited girl whose passion is collecting words, painting pictures with the perfect colour mixes, receiving her own personal mail from the mailbox and running barefoot through the soft blades of grass. She has a home for all her beloved words.  She records them very thoughtfully and carefully and places them inside a green notebook covered with purple polka dots.

Daisy goes to her mailbox and finds a pretty pink envelope addressed to her and discovers it is an invitation to a poetry party from her neighbour, Mrs. Bookman.  She is flattered and stunned at the invite because she will be the youngest person attending.  She agonizes over the proper outfit for a young "budding poet" to wear and what correct poet etiquette will be.  The day of the party finally arrives and Daisy is warmly welcomed by the guests who  are delighted with her word choices and encourage and inspire her to carry on with her word collection and perhaps try her hand at poetry because her word collection lends itself to rhyme so naturally.

When she goes to school the next day she finds out that her teacher, Miss Goldner, is planning a very special night for the end of the school year and she wants all her students to chose what they are best at and display their talent for all to see and appreciate that night.   Daisy's friends seem to have no trouble choosing what they are going to do but Daisy wrestles with what her gift is.  She ponders and searches until she finally comes up with the perfect plan for her project.  Do you think it will involve her word collection? Her new found zealousness for poetry? Her ability and love to bake cookies and share them with her friends?  I think you will be very pleased with her decision to use the talent that is blooming within her and craft it so she will be a big hit at the Student Showcase.

The illustrations are black-and-white and and are inserted in each chapter.  I love the softness of the characters and the expressions are amazing and appealing. The vocabulary is simple and interesting,  just perfect for those who have recently graduated from picture books to chapter books.  Highly recommended.

About the author:

Sandra V. Feder, author of the Daisy series, first thought about writing children’s books when she was in third grade, thanks to her school librarian, who introduced students not just to books but also to their authors. Sandra loved playing with words, and meeting local authors gave her a glimpse into the world of creating stories for children.
After graduating from Stanford University, Sandra began her writing career in journalism, working in Washington, D.C., for the New York Times and then for several newspapers in California. "Writing for newspapers taught me the power words have and the importance of using words well," Sandra says.
After she married and had children, Sandra joined a writing group, many of whose members wrote for young readers. That prompted her to try writing for children herself, drawing inspiration from her own children’s younger years.
In the Daisy series, Sandra encourages a passion for words in the next generation. "It has been wonderful to see how well children relate to Daisy and how much her love of words encourages them to develop their own love of words and language," she says.
"Daisy’s Perfect Word has led to many wonderful conversations — in schools, libraries and homes — about how we use words," Sandra says. "I hope to see every child carrying a green notebook that is covered with purple polka dots and filled with favorite words!"
In Daisy’s Defining Day, the second book in the Daisy series, Sandra introduces alliteration to young readers.
Sandra V. Feder, who absolutely adores alliteration, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fun family. She loves chewy, chunky, chocolate chip cookies.
About the illustrator:

When Susan was a child, her mother would read books to her and her sister every night, and they loved the magic of looking at the intricate illustrations from books such as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Wind in the Willows. The sisters would then spend hours making up their own stories and creating illustrations for them.
It seemed a natural progression to study art as an adult and she received a degree in drawing and painting from Edinburgh College of Art in 1984. She had various jobs after graduating, but unfortunately none of them had anything to do with illustration. Her most interesting and creative jobs were working as a scenic artist’s assistant at an old theatre and running art workshops for community groups.
In 1994, she emigrated with her husband from Scotland to Montreal. Just before leaving, she visited a gypsy fortune teller who told her she would not only move across the water and have an only son, but she would begin illustrating children’s books. This prediction encouraged her to pursue her illustration career instead of just dreaming about it. Shortly after a friend helped to put her portfolio website together, Susan received her first book contract to illustrate The Christmas Pop-Up Present for Simon & Schuster.
Susan now feels very fortunate to work full-time as an illustrator, with 18 published titles, including Reaching with Kids Can Press. When she is not drawing or painting, she loves to sew and make soft toys that resemble her illustrations. She also loves to visit schools to talk about her illustration process and hopes that she inspires some children to become illustrators when they grow up.
Susan is married to children’s author P.J. Bracegirdle and has a son named Ewan.

                 Book review rating:
                                     8 (Fantastic!)
Read on and read always!  

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