Daisy the Dalmatian will never take out the garbage, she will never clean her room, and she will never do her homework - not in a million years. Instead she would rather write the greatest book of all time, and win the Tour-de-Daisy bicycle race. Perhaps you have a little one who is likewise reluctant to complete the daily chores required for a successful life. Our family certainly has a few, and even some big ones who often resist undertaking the necessary but unavoidable tasks of daily living. Like ours, your home may benefit from a visit from Daisy and her mother in No, Never!
Multi-published children’s author and illustrator Sally O. Lee has released another of her brightly illustrated, whimsical picture books. Like her gentle tale of unconditional friendship – The Rabbit and the Snowman — Lee incorporates a moral within the text itself that requires no supplemental commentary by parents or fable-like concluding statement. The simple text guides children through Daisy’s stubborn refusal, through her mother’s gentle reasoning and explanations, and on to the accomplishment of her grand dreams and goals.
While Daisy’s mother does succeed in reaching Daisy with her argument for completing the more mundane tasks of life in order to accomplish her grand ambitions, this message may be lost on audiences young enough to appreciate Lee’s style. My own three-year-old certainly can’t comprehend such lofty ideals, but she did find the story very funny. My six-year-old comes closer to understanding the book’s message, but is already on the older side of the spectrum; she sat through the book, but found the simple text geared for young listeners a bit dull.
The whimsical illustrations are executed in thick, vibrant oils on textured paper. The vivid palate evokes the joy and full-throttle emotional force of childhood. As Daisy makes her emphatic refusals to participate in her daily tasks, one can’t help being swept away in the all-to-common passion of childhood. I read Daisy’s passionate refrain of “No, Never!” aloud with all the gusto I’ve heard my own pre-schoolers muster up when confronted with clean-up time. Where the watercolours in The Rabbit and the Snowman created a soft, sympathetic mood, the bold, opaque paintings create a punchy delivery for the story.