Daisy, Bold and Beautiful is an absolute treat. Written by eleven-year-old phenom author Ellie Collins, this novel discusses important middle-grade topics such as standing up for yourself, dealing with grief, and making a new place feel like home—all while remaining focused on entertaining the reader and making sure we care for its main character. What else could we ask for?
This short book opens with D.J. (or Daisy Jane), a young girl who has just moved into a small condo with her father, only months after her mother has passed away. D.J. misses her mother deeply and her dad does too, but Dad is a strong, kind, and positive force that helps D.J. prepare for her next quest. He knows that D.J. will need to step up to the task of staying true to herself and making friends in her new school. But can she really do both?
Author Ellie Collins approaches grief and the loss of her mother so gracefully. Whenever D.J. falls asleep, she transports to a dream world filled with flowers and beautiful scenery. That’s where we meet Persephone, the goddess of Spring and the female figure D.J.’s been missing. Persephone shows the girl around her beautiful garden, nearly as beautiful as the one D.J. shared with her late mother, while helping her with the problems of her new school. The author lets readers, young and old, think for themselves with this one, never directly mentioning the relationship between her mother and Persephone. Instead, Collins encourages her middle grade readers to improve their analysis skills and think critically.
The writing is what really makes this novel shine. Not only does the author do a strong job in introducing middle-grade readers to words they may not be familiar with, but she succeeds in raising important questions and offering helpful solutions that its young readers can act on immediately. She may achieve her goals just a bit too easily in this novel, but for middle grade readers, we think it sends the right message that sometimes all it takes is just a little bit of effort.
Daisy, Bold and Beautiful (Fresh Ink Group, 2018) also displays a wonderfully effective pace throughout, unraveling both the plot and characterization with grace. We learn a lot from D.J. early and often, through small acts like leaving food behind the napkin holder, hoping that Dad won’t notice if she left it there, and through big actions like speaking to Hudson and daring to explore her differences with her new friends.
If Ellie Collins’s teacher hasn’t started using Daisy, Bold and Beautiful in her curriculum yet, we’re sure it’s just a matter of time. This young author has done an absolutely wonderful job, and we can’t wait to read more from her.
Purchase Daisy, Bold and Beautiful by author Ellie Collins HERE!
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