cover image Lady Daisy

Lady Daisy

Dick King-Smith. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $14 (131pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30891-5

In a departure from his animal stories, King-Smith conjures up a new type of fantasy in this endearing modern tale introducing nine-year-old Ned, who discovers a magical doll while clearing out his grandmother's attic. The lad is more than a little surprised when the wax figure opens its eyes and begins to chat about life in the Victorian age. After updating the doll (Lady Daisy Chain) on events that have occurred during her lengthy slumber, Ned decides to adopt her--even though he realizes that his claim to such a girlish toy may well invite ridicule. At first he keeps his discovery a secret, but one by one, his parents, friends and an antique dealer become aware of the ancient doll's existence (although no one guesses her unique ability). Tension arises when a burly classmate kidnaps Lady Daisy, but she is returned safe and sound long before the book's poignant conclusion, which takes place in the year 2010. Readers will be enamored of prim and proper Lady Daisy and her nonsexist owner, tough enough to hold his own against bullying yet sufficiently tender to express affection for his beloved ward. Exuding as much warmth, wit and wonder as Babe the Gallant Pig and Paddy's Pot of Gold , this newest addition to the author's impressive list of titles is sure to be a hit. Illustrations not seen by PW . Ages 8-12. (Apr.)