OOPS-A-DAISY!

Claire Freedman, Author, Gaby Hansen, Illustrator , illus. by Gaby Hansen. Tiger Tales $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58925-037-6

Will little Daisy Rabbit ever learn how to hop? "Why won't my feet do what I tell them to?" she complains, having landed smack on a prickly thistle. But Mama encourages Daisy with a piece of timeless wisdom: "No one gets it right the first time." Her mother illustrates this axiom by pointing out all the other animal youngsters who are struggling, under the watchful eyes of their parents, to master basic motor skills. Little Mouse slips off a grass shoot instead of harvesting its seeds, Little Badger's tunnel collapses as he tries to dig, and Little Duck's nascent navigating skills result in a lily pad entanglement. Hansen (Molly and the Storm ) soft-pedals the awkwardness of her young characters more than she needs to; without Freedman's (Dilly Duckling ) crisp, descriptive prose, and evocative nonsense phrases like "Splashity-crashity," it would be hard to tell—or savor—how the little ones are making a hash of things. On the other hand, Hansen excels at conveying the book's core values. With Mama's warm, steady gaze and patient smile, she conveys to readers that parents are with their children every step of the way—even when those steps may be tentative. And, in the book's final pages, when Daisy finally hops, skips and jumps, the happiness that radiates from the tip of her floppy ears to the bottoms of her paws proves that persistence really does pay off. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)

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