Frost, Helen

Blue Daisy

(2) 1-3 Illustrated by Rob Shepperson. Frost (When My Sister Started Kissing, rev. 3/17; Applesauce Weather) begins this character-driven early chapter book with a familiar literary device: a stranger (this time a friendly dog) comes to town (a generic suburbia). Two self-proclaimed nice kids, Sam and Katie, alternately narrate the story; his account is in verse, hers in prose. The two initially vie with each other for the pup's attention but unite when the Tracy twins--the "meanest kids in the whole world"--take a liking to the dog and try to steal her affection. Impulsively, Katie and Sam paint a blue daisy on the dog, providing her with a convenient name but also temporarily branding her. The two children grapple with their actions: who are the mean kids now? The book contains several scaffolds for readers just moving into longer works. Quatrains preview each of three sections, while a fourth serves as an epilogue and succinctly closes the novel. Sam's three-line stanzas provide a nice structure for the text, and sixteen full-page black-and-white illustrations present a visual representation of the characters and highlight main points in the story. Dialogue is represented in italics rather than within quotation marks, a departure from standard narratives but not one that should hinder comprehension. An author's note explains these conventions; recipes for snickerdoodles and dog biscuits, both of which figure in the story, complete the book.


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