In the sixth installment of this Swedish chapter book series, Dani takes a train trip by herself. It doesn’t go as planned.
Dani is spending winter break at her grandparents’ house because her father, Gianni, has become sad again and has decided to go to Rome (where he is from) without her to “think about his life.” A gloomy Dani is trying to decide what to do on break when she comes up with a brilliant idea—her best friend Ella’s birthday is near, and she, Dani, will surprise visit her! But Ella lives in Northbrook, and Dani does not. Not a problem for positive-thinking Dani. She simply instructs her grandmother to drive her. But her grandmother says she is having her bridge friends’ dinner, and besides, the car is being serviced. Seeing Dani’s disappointment, she asks if Dani is brave enough to take the train on her own. Dani is hesitant but decides that for Ella, she will do it—and she does, but things go awry. Writing with exceptional insight and humor, author Lagercrantz develops Dani’s emotional maturity in this story, giving her a growing awareness of both life’s complexity and adult fallibility, all the while maintaining Dani’s bone-deep optimism. Illustrator Eriksson’s lively black-and-white drawings add lovely empathy and show everyone’s skin as the white of the paper.
Nearly the best one yet, and that’s saying something. (Fiction. 6-9)