A modern variant on a classic Eastern European folktale.
Waldman, this time with co-author Feutl, offers another adaptation (Clever Rachel, 2009, and A Sack Full of Feathers, 2007) but with lackluster results. The familiar tale’s modern twist focuses on Daisy’s clutter. She wants a bigger room for all of her stuff, especially with her birthday coming. She is sure she is “going to get lots of presents, and there’s nowhere to put anything.” Daisy initially comes off a bit cranky, but Mom has an idea. Her solution is to give Daisy a special box: “This…will make your room bigger.” The box is full of old toys that were stored in the basement. Daisy is skeptical; her room seems to be shrinking instead of growing. But Mom keeps bringing more of Daisy’s possessions into the room. As the space gets increasingly crowded and Daisy suffers minor injuries from tripping over her multitude of things, she finally decides to pack up the things she does not play with anymore and put it into the donation box for Mitzvah Day. The story does provide plenty of topics for discussion, including how to donate and recycle unwanted items, learning to appreciate what you have and more is not always better. Sadly the lengthy text hampers the book’s flow, and the bright acrylic illustrations add little to entertain young readers.
Better choices are Steven Kroll’s Stuff!, illustrated by Steve Cox (2009), and Margot Zemach's gold-standard, Caldecott Honor–winning It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folktale (1977). (Picture book. 4-7)