I was getting into Daisy by Jessixa Bagley right up until the end. The length was not too long, there was not a lot of text, but not just “See Spot.” But then it ends, and I was left thinking, “Okay. Odd.” I think my biggest complaint (while I understand the why I am not a fan of the execution) is all the girls have flower (or plant) names. This made me think of Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (even though he just has a few flower names).
The theme is mostly the same: the other students all make fun of Daisy (an adorable warthog) as she has a plain name. This makes Daisy be alone, collecting “junk” (but one person’s junk is Daisy’s treasure) and she has a magical fort to hide in. One day special treasures are left for her where she will be sure to find them, and Daisy must learn who her friend is. Spoiler, it is a skunk named Fern (I like Fern, she is sweet).
I have read that story before: outcast is okay with being herself, if not a little sad about it, makes a friend and then Happy Ending. Therefore, the story itself is only “okay.” However, I adore the illustrations. I love the characters looks (animals dressed as little children), the world around them (the school, the hidden fort, the meadow, even Daisy’s house) and the cover tells you all about the colors and the look of the pages (whimsical, not too fleshed out). Every page is busy, without being “too much” to take in. They, along with the tone of the text, gives Daisy an “old school” and classical feeling to the story. I expected the book to be by someone like Margaret Wise Brown or Miriam Young.
This book will be good for a group read, but the cozy tone makes it best (or at least for me) to be shared with your own special Daisy one-on-one.