It’s the last day of school, and Dani and her classmates are packing up their belongings. Overall, it’s been a happy year, she reminisces. She’s made a great friend, Ella, and has learned to socialise with her peers. She’s now writing a story about her experiences, wishing to conclude it with a chapter about her happiest moment. While reflecting on what this might be – which is hard now that Ella has left her school – she’s summoned to the headteacher’s office and told of her father’s bike accident. Her world turns topsy turvy. Since she’s motherless, her grandparents taker her in, her only friend her mischievous, somewhat insensitive cousin. Where now will she find her happiest moment?
From being a cosy story about growing up and everyday experiences, it becomes abruptly sombre as Dani struggles to come to terms with her father’s accident. Young readers may find the change of mood disconcerting, but, as the sunny cover and heart-filled, half-title page suggest, Dani does find her happiest moment – and from an unexpected source. Dani, a sympathetic character, always sees the positive side, even though she’s known pain and loss. The story owes much to the large, spirited black and white, hatched line drawings that capture the essence of each character while breaking the text into short, manageable chunks. Divided into 12 short chapters, the book is attractively produced with lots of white space between text and pictures, and the type set large.