Where Dani Goes, Happy Follows / Snow Sisters: The Enchanted Waterfall / Unicorn Academy: Rosa and Crystal

Where Dani Goes, Happy Follows
Rose Lagerercrantz and Eva Eriksson
Gecko Press

This is my first encounter with the delightful Dani whose adventures began with My Happy Life.In this, her sixth instalment the girl is spending the winter break staying with her grandparents because her father has again become sad and is now spending time with his mother and brother in his home city, Rome to ‘think about his life’.

While out ski-ing, the normally cheerful Dani gets that gloomy feeling but then she suddenly thinks of her best friend Ella and remembers that it’s almost her birthday. What better birthday present than an experience – a surprise visit from Dani?

There’s a slight snag though: Ella lives miles away in Northbrook. Of course, being the positive child she is Dani’s sure one of her grandparents will drive her: maybe she doesn’t have a problem after all.

After consideration Grandma asks her if she dares go from Stockholm to Northbrook on the train by herself so long as Ella’s mum collects her at the station. Granpa needs a fair bit of convincing but eventually Dani is on the train bound for her destination.

When she arrives at Northbrook however things start to go wrong; the station is covered in snow and there’s nobody there to meet her. That however is only the first bad thing that happens …

With her near indomitable spirit, Dani is an adorable character. In this book, in a very short space of time she emerges with a lot more understanding of the adult world with its ramifications and frailties.

With its bitter-sweetness, Rose Lagererantz’s writing really rings true and her characterisation is superb.

Eva Eriksson’s splendidly empathetic black and white illustrations are a delight and add an extra touch of piquancy to the book.I will definitely seek out the earlier titles in this series.

Wholeheartedly recommended for solo reading and as a class read aloud for KS1 and early KS2.

Snow Sisters: The Enchanted Waterfall
Astrid Foss, illustrated by Monique Dong
Nosy Crow

This is the 4th and final magical adventure of the three sisters, with special powers to enchant, who reside in a castle on the mystical island of Nordovia.

Now Magda, Hanna and Ida must draw on all their strength and bravery to undertake their final quest in this battle of good versus evil, for it’s the Day of the Midnight Sun and the nefarious Shadow Witch is absolutely determined to do whatever she must to obtain the power of the Everchanging Lights and make the skies forever dark.

As always the combination of magical fantasy, highly engaging characters (some animal), a powerful plot with just the right amount of darkness, and plenty of Monique Dong’s lovely black and white illustrations will ensure that early chapter book readers will lose themselves in the adventure.

And do the sisters succeed in ensuring that the Everchanging Lights are in their rightful place by the time the clock strikes the midnight hour? Let’s just say that where’s there’s light and love, there is hope.

For roughly the same age group, there’s more magic in:

Unicorn Academy: Rosa and Crystal
Julie Sykes, illustrated by Lucy Truman
Nosy Crow

This series for the countless young unicorn lovers out there takes us yet again to Lakeside Unicorn Academy for another instalment of magical unicorn delight.

The pupil in question herein is Rose and her unicorn partner is Crystal and after just a month at the school the two are off on a rule-breaking adventure in search of the magical map. It’s not all down to the twosome however, teamwork is involved and they both have to learn what being a member of a team entails.

Engaging, undemanding fun.

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