Dancing with Daisy
with illustrations by Josée Bisaillon
Finalist, 2020 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award
Starred listing, Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens
We were putting the roof back on, when who should come screeching around the corner of the barn, wailing like a jealous banshee, but Daisy. I opened my mouth to holler at her; when I closed it, it was gum on gum.
The next morning, there were 28 new icebergs out in the middle of the bay.
When he finds a photograph of his grandfather as a young man, Liam is full of questions. But that's just fine, because Grampy has a story to spin with every answer.
On a fall day in 1962, he tells Liam, he had a run-in with a nasty girl in search of a dance partner; Daisy was her name. What follows is a tall tale about Grampy's tango with a hurricane, and all those signs of aging—the wrinkles, the stooped back, the croaky voice, the false teeth—can be chalked up to Daisy's persistence and Grampy's refusal to dance. Of course, it takes a talking to from Nana to get that Daisy to blow off elsewhere.
Acclaimed author Jan L. Coates and award-winning illustrator Josée Bisaillon join forces in this charming picture book to craft a tale both touching and amusing about aging and the bond between a grandfather and his grandson. Bisaillon's gorgeous, playful illustrations bring the dance to life, evoking that windy girl and her insistent ways, as well as the warm affection between Grampy and Liam.
What folks are saying
"Coates uses the construct of the tall tale to introduce young children to the concept of aging. Colorful, detailed illustrations bring the landscape and feel of a northern sea to life for readers.... [T]ogether the text and images create a delightfully engaging tableau." ~ School Library Journal
"Bisaillon's depictions of Daisy are an artistic coup, suggesting both wind and woman through scalable hands, arms and blowing hair. Together with Coates' colloquial trim tale, they are a source of mirth. ... This refreshing picture book is, as Coates mentions in her dedication, for those who like make-believe." ~ Aliki Tryphonolpoulous, Canadian Children's Book News
"Josée Bisaillon's art is a wonderful accompaniment to Jan L. Coates's story, taking readers to the Atlantic coast of colourful buildings, cold grey waters and tumultuous weather" ~ Helen Kubiw, CanLit for LittleCanadians (read the full review)
"Bisaillon's pictures perfectly match the exuberance and high spirits of Coates's story, which is sure to inspire young readers to tell tall tales of their own summer adventures." ~ Jeffrey Canton, The Globe and Mail (read the full review)
"Josée Bisaillon's mixed media illlustrations are a delight as she creatively whips up the wind and wildness of a wicked hurricane—and they are whimsically witty when she illustrates what happens to Grampy's lost teeth." ~ Anne Letain, Resource Links
"... rolls along like a god tale should, and ... wraps up with Liam in the loving embrace of his grandfather, just the way a good story should end." ~ Harriet Zaidman, CM: Canadian Review of Materials (read the full review)