Top positive review
I'll stick up for this book... we really like it!
on August 28, 2007
"Daffodil," by Emily Jenkins, is a clever, complex story of three sisters who are triplets learning to assert themselves and express their own needs and their individuality. Your children don't need to be twins, triplets, etc., to benefit from the message, which is more about children asserting independence from their parents than about being a multiple birth child -- the message is universal.
The point of the story is that the triplets' mother dresses them the way that *she* wants to, and the way *she* thinks is so clever and cute, and that the girls -- who are sick of the dresses they always have to wear -- finally learn to assert themselves and express their own needs, and not just let their mother live her life through them. It's not about fashion or vanity or "being made happy by clothes", but about young children learning to communicate their own wants and emotions, and about a parent learning when it's time to back off and let their kids make some of their own choices.
As far as the language goes, I think Ms. Jenkins is trying to speak in the voice of a young (5-8 year-oldish?) girl, and her mode of expression is not grammatically incorrect, so what's the problem? Repetition? If you condemned every childrens' book that used repetition as a writing device, I think you'd have a very narrow selection. As far as the objectionable word -- "pee" -- I didn't read it aloud when I read this book, and the story worked just fine. However, as a word that a little kid would choose to describe a shade of yellow that they hated and felt oppressed by, "pee yellow" seems like a pretty likely choice. It's clearly negative and conveys the girl's feelings. Personally, I just don't see any need to freak out about it. Just edit as you go along, and don't take everything so darn literally.
This is a cute book with a unique sense of humor and a valuable message. It may be a bit too emotionally charged for some readers, but for open-minded readers, it's definitely worth checking out! (ReadThatAgain!)