Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Daisy Dawson at the Beach

Daisy Dawson at the Beach

Steve Voake
Illustrator:  Jessica Meserve 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 8
Candlewick, 2011   ISBN: 978-0763653064

It is the last day of school, and Daisy is excited because tomorrow she and her parents are going on a summer vacation. They are going to the seashore, and Daisy happily tells her animal friends about her plans. It isn’t easy to explain the pleasures of the beach to creatures who have never seen the ocean, but Daisy does her best. Boom the dog worries about Daisy being so close to so much water and he says, “Promise me if you ever get lost in it, you’ll swim toward the sun.” Daisy gives her promise and heads home.

   The next morning the Dawsons head for the seashore. While her parents are setting up their campsite, Daisy goes to fill a bucket with water, which is how she meets Raberta and Rabsy, a pair of young rabbits. Though the beach is not far from where they live, the rabbits have no idea what beaches, waves, or surfboards are and Daisy has a hard time helping them to understand. In the end she invites the rabbits to come to the beach to ride “on a foam floating thing” that floats on “blue uppy-downy things.”

   A few days later, Daisy is down on the beach wondering if the rabbits are going to turn up. She has not seen them since the day she arrived. Nibbling on a sandwich, she explores the beach and meets some rather rude seagulls. Then a crab pinches her toe, and he seems to think that pinching is a wonderful thing to do. Daisy is able to convince the crab that being pinched is not much fun at all. Pinchy the crab then invites Daisy to do the crab dance with him. Daisy watches Pinchy doing the dance and then she joins him. Soon she is surrounded by crabs happily clacking their claws, shuffling their legs, and having a grand time.

   In the middle of the dance the rabbits turn up, and after a wonderful dancing and rapping session, Daisy sets about teaching the rabbits how to stand on a surf board. She emphasizes that they should lie down and hang on to Daisy if they feel as if they are going to fall off the board.

   The next day Daisy and her rabbit friends go out on the surf board for the first time. Everything goes well at first, and then Rabsy, who gets cocky and careless, falls off the surfboard. Knowing that her little friend won’t last long in the big ocean, Daisy desperately starts looking for him.

   In this wonderful fourth Daisy Dawson adventure, the little girl who understands animal speech not only meets some interesting animals, but she comes to appreciate that everyone, at some point or another, needs a helping hand. Being there for others, in good times and in times of trouble, is something that we should all do.

   The author of this charming and heartwarming story beautifully explores a simple concept, infusing delicious humor into his narrative and giving readers a feel-good tale that is timeless.