Life According to Dani

tr. from Swedish by Julia Marshall. illus. by Eva Eriksson. 104p. Gecko. Sept. 2016. lib ed. $16.99. ISBN 9781776570706.
Gr 2–4—In this book that picks up where When I Am the Happiest left off, Dani is sent to live with her best friend, Ella, on a small island for the summer when her father is injured and recovering in a hospital. Summertime starts off carefree and idyllic, with the girls spending their days swimming (skinny-dipping while playing the violin!), baking and selling goods, and exploring. As in the previous titles, Dani's happy life has serious undertones that threaten to destroy her contentment. Dani worries she will be replaced in her father's heart when he suddenly shows up on the island with a new girlfriend. Dani behaves rudely to the girlfriend, Sadie, and both Sadie and Dani's father leave, causing turmoil for all. Sweet, charismatic drawings by Eriksson complement the spare text perfectly and will endear Dani to readers. Translated from Swedish, the story has a European feel, though many readers, especially those dealing with similar situations to those faced by the main characters, will identify strongly and compassionately. While it may seem at first that Dani is getting her way by encouraging her father not to date Sadie, the resolution is more complex, and astute readers will realize the family will likely be seeing more of Sadie in the future.
VERDICT Fans of this series will enjoy this and look forward to seeing what is in store next for the spirited young girl and her small family.

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