Remember when you were in fourth grade, and the world seemed a big, sometimes terrifying place, filled every day with events so dramatic and life-altering? Children’s book author Marissa Moss captures this time in a child’s life perfectly with artistic creativity and style. In the 90s, Moss brought older child readers the adventures of Amelia in Amelia’s Notebook. Now, Moss is back with this delightful series Daphne’s Diary of Daily Disasters, designed for the reader who is just getting used to reading on her own.
What makes Daphne’s Diary so delightful is two-fold—both the story and the presentation of the story are engaging. The book itself is shaped like a child’s composition book, and it unfolds as would any child’s diary, filled with sketches, speech bubbles, scribbles and more.
The series centers on the daily mishaps of Daphne, a well-meaning girl who finds that her constant faux pas as an entering fourth grader metastasize into “total disasters.” The first book of the series, “The Name Game”, recounts Daphne’s first day of school. Like many young children, Daphne finds that she dislikes her name, but has more or less come to terms with it. When the teacher calls out Daphne’s name for roll call and then cannot seem to remember it afterwards, always mangling it into something else like Daffy, other children begin to tease Daphne. The rest of the story describes Daphne’s experiences trying to remedy the situation with some advice from Dad, which causes yet another disaster.
In the second book of the series, “The Vampire Dare,” Daphne ponders the popularity of the vampire. At school, Daphne’s teacher announces a costume contest, which inspires Daphne to create the perfect Vampire costume. The rest of the book recounts the various challenges she must face as she navigates, yet again, a series of disasters.
What young readers (Amazon.com lists the book as being appropriate for children aged 4 to 8) will find most appealing about Daphne’s Diary of Daily Disasters is that it very accurately chronicles the trials and tribulations of being a small child in a big world. Daphne isn’t the perfect protagonist, and this character complexity plays well with children who often feel as though they are constantly “messing up.” In the final analysis the Daphne series is something that most children can relate to closely, and this ability to relate will make young readers especially enthusiastic about reading. Don’t miss this entertaining series that will surely become more engaging with each new book.
For more information, check out this recent New York Times review.
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.
Thank you Mariana for another excellent guest post.