When Daisy Comes Home

By Jan Brett

Itís back-to-school season again. Where did the summer go? One thing I know, there are lots of new books which have been published and I had time to read a few!

When Daisy Comes Home, set in China, is Jan Brettís 2002 publication. As always, the illustrations are remarkable. Opposite corners of the double-page layout have inset pictures showing various pieces of the story. Some are in anticipation of the next page. Some are pieces of the story not shown on the whole page. Some are close-up drawings of the larger picture. Illustration hint: call studentsí attention to details such as the shape of the mountains Ė bits of story can be found cleverly concealed there, too!

This is the story of a chicken who travels a long way from home, but not on purpose. Pushed off the roost night after night, Daisy decides to find another place to sleep. She chooses a market basket filled with soft straw and snuggles down into a warm sleep. Unfortunately, a storm comes, the river rises, and Daisyís basket floats away while she is sleeping.

The hen is rudely awakened by the bobbing and tipping of the basket. Then follows a series of adventures which culminate in Daisyís capture by a fisherman. Children will be fascinated by the kind of fishing that is done along the Li River. It requires no nets and no poles, and thatís all I will say!

The fisherman leaves the river and goes to the market where he will sell the chicken he has caught. Meanwhile, Mei Mei, the owner of the happiest hens in China, awakens and misses Daisy. She collects eggs from the other hens and sets off for the market, wondering where Daisy could be. You can probably guess that Daisy will be found and recovered, but the happy ending is unusual, nevertheless.

Writing opportunities with this story abound. The story is build around the old saying, "Finders keepers." Older students might try the technique of building a story around a folk saying.

RAFTS prompt: You are a news reporter for the Li River Times. Interview Daisy about her adventures and write an article for the front page, analyzing Daisyís adventures to determine how she grew as a character. Be sure to include a headline.

For a little non-fiction writing, students might research different ways of fishing, animals Daisy met along the river, life in a Chinese village, Chinese writing, and whether there really is a Li River.

I hope you enjoy this new Jan Brett book as much as I did. I think itís destined to be one of my favorites! Donít forget to look at Janís site on the web: http://www.janbrett.com. Youíll find postcards, with 5 illustrations from the book, to e-mail to friends. Thereís also a coloring page with Daisy and the monkeys.

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