Author Judy Young’s new early reader picture book is called Digger and Daisy Star in a Play, and it has a little something for everybody. In it, Digger and Daisy are preparing for their upcoming roles in the school play. Daisy is thrilled to be playing a princess with a speaking part of a whopping two words. But Digger is not so happy; he is playing a tree, and trees just don’t have speaking parts.
After days of memorizing lines and “non-lines,” the minutes tick down and the play gets underway. But things suddenly go haywire. The spotlight is shining and the audience is looking, but the play has come to a screeching halt. Someone needs help, and fast.
This book may be brief but it offers a lot to the emerging reader. Ms. Young’s text is spot-on for ages 5 to 7, and the “easy reader” vocabulary should foster a sense of accomplishment for the newly-independent reader. The story line offers the excitement of preparing for a big performance, the importance of practicing for perfection, and the unpredictable havoc—and stomach butterflies–that stage fright can bring. And even though the book has very few words, Ms. Young manages to do two things: she builds tension and suspense by pitting readers against the unknown (in this case, the “unknown” is whether poor Daisy will remember her whopping two lines), and she keeps readers smiling to the end of the book.
Dana Sullivan’s bright and bouncy illustrations are just what the kid-doctor ordered. Digger and Daisy’s eyes are always wide and eager; their faces are always friendly (even when one of them is a little nervous); and their surroundings conjur warm and fuzzy memories of those school plays and bumbled first lines of long ago.
Great for early elementary classes, independent reading, school theater departments, and pre-school libraries.
Best wishes and happy practicing,