Tasked with cleaning out the box room in his Grandmother’s house, Ned finds a porcelain doll. Imagine his surprise when she opens her eyes and talks. Lady Daisychain is put out. She was last awake in 1901, and does not at first accept that nearly a century has passed. She expected to be awoken by her doll mother, Victoria.
Ned takes Lady Daisy home. As she brings the Victorian era to life through her tales, Ned deals with some obstacles. There’s school bully, Troy, who says boys can’t have dolls. Then there’s the strange Mr Merryweather-Jones, who would happily take Lady Daisy out of Ned’s hands…
Lady Daisy is primarily about the passage of time. Ned won’t let Gran talk about the future, and her own mortality. Lady Daisy awakes to find 90 years has gone by since she shut her eyes. The world as she knows it has changed. It is also about ancestry – from Dad’s football gloves to the doll in the family attic, Ned’s interest in the past develops, primarily when he is able to relate dates to stories.
I met Lady Daisy when I was eight. My Year 3 teacher was a great one for reading at the end of the day. I spent a happy year on that carpet, (or up on the HUGE Victorian water pipes if I was quick enough – three small children could squeeze on to that pipe at a push. It was prime seat. This, needless to say, was in the years before reading corners stuffed with cushions and beanbags. The book was linked to our Victorian topic, and it whetted my interest. I found a second hand copy in that year, and have read it almost every year since.
Harry Potter mania took hold when I was nine, (two years after initial publication.) Prior to Potter mania, and the consequent surge in children’s publishing, Dick King-Smith was among a handful of ‘staple’ authors writing for children in the UK. I had been familiar with his work from the age of five or six, when I enjoyed the Sophie books, and I looked for his name in the library.
Why do I revisit Lady Daisy? As well as the comfort of regressing to those afternoons on the carpet, it encompasses my favourite themes. If you read my Top Ten Tuesday post earlier this week, you might have noticed the high proportion of historical settings. A year or two later, my timeslip fetish began. Lady Daisy formed the groundwork of this interest.
The final chapter is called 17/06/2010. I kid you not, I kept tabs on that date across the twelve years from that initial encounter, and miffed when I found nobody online making a FUSS. I cannot spoil the ending, but the speed with which seven years have passed serves to prove the book’s message. Time flies – but new generations come in that time. I hope another generation of schoolchildren will find Lady Daisy, and read her through the next 20 years.
- Flashback Friday was a meme run by Bookshelf Fantasies. Continuing from this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I decided to begin a series of Flashback Friday posts. Thanks to Bookshelf Fantasies for the idea.