Naturally curious and habitually late to school, Daisy Dawson is full of life. You'll love every moment of her adventures with her new friends! The adorable menagerie is populated by all kinds of animals, with each character having a different personality. A bloodhound who informs Daisy that his name is Boom - not Rover as she's been calling him - quickly becomes her closest confidante. Meadowsweet, a gentle horse, has a very maternal, wise presence. A cat called Trixie McDixie acts like she's too cool to engage in Daisy's expeditions. Cyril, a silly gray squirrel, fancies himself a bit of a hero. His shy niece, Hazel, and daredevil nephew, Conker, are introduced in the second volume, along with two sleek river otters named Spray and Dampsy. Let's not forget the classroom gerbils, Furball and Burble, who chatter, argue, and even sing a little.
Written by Steve Voake and illustrated by Jessica Meserve, these simple chapter books are perfect for young readers who are just starting to dip their toes into the waters of independent reading. The black-and-white illustrations by Meserve have an old-fashioned touch, happily reminiscent of those by Jane Miller in the Susie books by Lee Wyndham. The stories are engaging and progress at a steady pace. Daisy Dawson is On Her Way! introduces Daisy to her newfound Doctor Dolittle-like ability. In the second book, Daisy Dawson and the Secret Pond, Daisy takes a ton of pictures with her new digital camera and meets a pair of otters down at the local pond, Darkwater Sump.
I first heard of this series when Jules of Seven Impossible Things blogged about the first book two years ago. Jules recently posted about the second book, Daisy Dawson and the Secret Pond, the cover of which I was drawn to immediately because it featured otters. Combine that with the fact that the protagonist could communicate with critters, and I was sold. I immediately checked the first two books out from the library and read them lickety-split. I'll definitely be checking out the third book, Daisy Dawn and the Big Freeze, when it comes out in November 2010.
Read the books in order:
Daisy Dawson is On Her Way!
Daisy Dawson and the Secret Pond
Daisy Dawn and the Big Freeze
 My favorite book in the Susie series was Susie and the Ballet Family. I believe that the illustrations in the first four Susie books were drawn by Jane Miller, while the fifth book, Susie and the Ballet Horse, was illustrated by Jean MacDonald Porter. I do not have the books on hand, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.