________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 41. . . .June 21, 2013


Daisy's Defining Day. (Daisy).

Sandra Feder. Illustrated by Susan Mitchell.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2013.
96 pp., hardcover, $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-780-8.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Stacey Matson.

**½ /4



Daisy raced on her bike to Emma's house.

"I'm going to come up with a name that is so great everyone will forget Lazy Daisy," she told Emma, who was practicing ballet pirouettes in the front yard.

"Dynamite!" Emma said.

"That's great," Daisy said. "I love it!"

"Dynamite Daisy," Daisy explained. "I'm going to use alliteration, like we did in class to come up with the perfect name. We can come up with one for you, too."

Emma's pirouette kicked up a cloud of dirt. "Dusty Daisy?" Daisy wondered as she brushed herself off. She shook her head.

"I'm feeling a little dizzy," Emma said, after her fourth pirouette in a row.

"Dizzy Daisy?" Daisy asked. No. She knew she could do better.

"We need to find some really good words," Daisy said. "Let's try the library."

"Mahatzi!" Emma replied, using Daisy's made-up word for "let's go!"

The girls got on their bikes and rode to the nearby branch of the public library. They each took a book off the shelf and started looking.


Daisy loves words and is particularly pleased when her class starts learning about rhyming words and alliteration. But when her neighbour Grant starts calling her Lazy Daisy, Daisy is determined to come up with a better name for herself. She searches everywhere for alliterative words for Daisy, and eventually she finds her perfect name. The problem is, her new name is so long and complicated no one can get it right! Now what is Daisy to do?

     internal art Daisy's Defining Day, the second book in the "Daisy" series, is written for early readers of chapter books and tries to instill a love of wordplay in kids. Readers have no need to have read Daisy's Perfect Word (Vol. XVIII, No. 38, June 1, 2012) first, as each book in the series can stand alone.

     Daisy's Defining Day would be good for avid early readers. The text level is appropriate, with a smattering of more difficult words to challenge them. The novel sits at just under 100 pages with illustrations, so it's not too overwhelming in length or breadth. Adding to the light and fun atmosphere of the book, the pencil-drawn illustrations by Susan Mitchell complement the story without overwhelming it. Using the same format as the first "Daisy" book, there are some large, full and half-page illustrations along with some small detail illustrations peppered throughout.

     The storyline here is similar to the one from Daisy's Perfect Word, focussing on words and wordplay to move the plot forward. However, the book is very gentle and, as such, drags at times. Feder fills the plot with many little details about Daisy and Emma's days that do little to add to the story. At times, the plot seems bogged down by descriptions of frozen yogurt or dance moves, and reluctant readers may lose interest in capturing the storyline. Daisy is enthusiastic, loves school and her teacher, but she also seems a little too nice to be an interesting protagonist. I would have liked her to have seen Daisy be more realistic and less one-dimensional. The stakes could be higher as it feels as though each character is the most perfect version of a person. The mother is kind, gentle, and understanding, the teacher is amazing, and even Daisy's best friend never speaks up when Daisy's name request is unreasonable. The story could benefit from a little more action or tension from any character, making readers want to find out how the problem is solved. The book includes a list at the back that mirrors the lists that Daisy makes in the book, encouraging readers to make their own word lists. For aspiring young writers, this is a great exercise, and hopefully there are kids who are inspired to make their own word books like Daisy's example.



Stacey Matson has worked in educational and interpretive programming in cultural/historic sites across Canada. She recently finished her MA in children's literature at the University of British Columbia.

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