________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 40. . . .June 13, 2014


Daisy’s Big Night. (Daisy).

Sandra V. Feder. Illustrated by Susan Mitchell.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2014.
111 pp., hardcover, $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-908-6.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Stacey Matson.

***1/2 /4



… the poetry party was all Daisy could think about. At dinner, she told her father and her younger sister, Lily, about the invitation. “I’m so excited!” Daisy said. “I get to go to a party with real poets.”

She thought for a minute. “I wonder what I should wear. Do you think a poetry party is like a garden party?” she asked. “I’ve seen pictures of those in books.” She imagined herself in a flowing summer dress, a large floppy hat and white gloves.

“The party sounds very interesting,” her father said. “But I don’t think I will be much help picking an outfit.”

Daisy was still thinking about the poetry party as she lay in bed that night. She wondered if she should bring a poem. Then she sat straight up, her brow furrowed. “Do all poems have to rhyme?” she whispered. She thought about the poems she and her friends wrote at school. Most of those did rhyme, but making everything rhyme was hard work.

Daisy turned on her bedside lamp and reached for her green notebook with the purple polka dots. She flipped to her list of Favourite Rhyming Words. She read the words sweet and treat as well as sun and fun. Those would all be good words to work into a poem. But she wasn’t exactly sure how to put those words together.


Daisy’s favourite teacher, Miss Goldner, always has the best ideas. Instead of an open house at the end of the school year, Daisy’s class is going to have a student talent showcase! Daisy and her classmates are really excited to showcase their unique talents to their parents and friends. But it seems that everyone, but Daisy, has a talent to show off. She’s stumped! She wants to do something that includes her special skill of collecting cool words, but what? As the showcase grows closer, Daisy has to come up with something to do, and so she starts to pull inspiration from her favourite things until she has a special surprise that she’s sure everyone will love!

internal art     Daisy’s Big Night is the third installment of Sandra V. Feder’s “Daisy” series for early readers. By now, followers of the series are well-versed in Daisy’s world, but new readers to the series won’t be left behind either as Feder introduces most of the recurring characters without being repetitive of earlier books. Daisy’s Big Night also features the charming pencil drawings of Susan Mitchell which add a whimsical and light quality to the story. For keen early readers, the illustrations add just enough of a break from reading without diminishing their pleasure and challenge in tackling their first chapter books.

     Daisy’s Big Night is easily the strongest novel in the “Daisy” series. There was more going on in the plot than in the previous two books, and Daisy’s talent showcase surprise was a surprise even to me. I appreciated the extra layering of the book, even though it may be subtle to kids; the plotline took a few more twists and turns, keeping up with its audience as they become more confident readers. Daisy’s Big Night introduces the problem Daisy faces early on in the novel, and the stakes are higher than in the last two books; this isn’t just about picking the right word for the right occasion, but about Daisy’s showcasing her talents for friends, parents and strangers. Feder does a great job of creating tension without creating anxiety for her readers, and the payoff is worthwhile. She also sneaks in a little bit of new knowledge, introducing different types of poetry to kids, and Daisy’s enthusiasm for words and poetry is sure to resonate with aspiring writers and keen readers. This book felt a lot like the end of the “Daisy” series, but I’m hoping that Feder continues building bigger challenges and complications for Daisy and her readers to face as they all grow up.

Highly Recommended.

Stacey Matson is a writer living in Vancouver, BC. She recently finished her MA in children’s literature at the University of British Columbia and her first children’s novel comes out in September 2014.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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