Review Blog

Jun 20 2019

Where Dani goes, happy follows by Rose Lagercrantz

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Illus. by Eva Eriksson. My happy life series. Gecko Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781776572267.
This book by Gecko Press publishing house that promises 'curiously good books' from around the world, will have readers enthralled at Dani's journey, willing her to find her friend but not a little concerned for her safety along the way. The book touches on themes not usually shown in children's books. Her father is depressed over his wife's death, his parents not a little unhappy at being called in to help, and the irrepressible Dani is travelling alone to Northbrook. She runs into trouble on the way which she must contend with.
Dani is a strong young girl and this the sixth in the series will delight younger readers who love her character, but also those new to her stories.
Dani has been left again with her grandparents while Dad goes to Italy to stay with friends. Dani is not impressed and when she realises that tomorrow is Ella's birthday resolves to be her present and be with her old friend on the day. But no one can spare the time to take her so she is allowed to go by herself on the train. Armed with a mobile phone and knowing that Ella's family will be there to welcome her when she arrives, Dani sets off. But hurdles beset her: there is no one at the station, it is cold and snowing, the stationmaster leaves her in the waiting room where she is accosted by two youths and a dog, who take her phone, and someone walks in when she is hiding under the bench so does not see her.
Each incident will have readers thinking about what they would do in that situation and admire Dani's handling of her misfortunes. It is a strength of this wonderful read that Dani although a child is having to face more mature problems. In simply wanting to surprise her friend, she takes steps which go awry, but there are people there to help.
The illustrations show clearly the sort of young girl Dani is: resourceful, playful and generous, wanting to see Ella again, but also realising that there are other people to consider. She learns more about her father even though he is in Rome, as well as his old girlfriend, Sadie and her new friend, Cushion, and in going on this journey to see her old friend, Ella, realises that things change and accepts Cushion as her friend.
Fran Knight

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