Please Don't Eat the Daisies

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First edition

Please Don't Eat the Daisies (New York: Doubleday, 1957) is a best-selling collection of humorous essays by American humorist and playwright Jean Kerr about suburban living and raising four boys. The essays do not have a plot or through-storyline, but the book sold so well it was later adapted into a film starring Doris Day and David Niven. The film was later adapted into a television series starring Patricia Crowley and Mark Miller. Mrs. Kerr followed up this book with two later best-selling collections, The Snake Has All the Lines and Penny Candy.

Reception[edit]

The book achieved the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list in February, 1958.[1] Kerr’s “wryly observant style” reminded Washington Post critic Richard L. Coe of James Thurber, E.B. White, and Cornelia Otis Skinner.[2]

Kirkus Review notes, “Funny and refreshing, her maternal moments will find a sympathetic hysteria among others bedeviled by strident striplings and a perfect antidote toward accepted currently child raising programs: her take-offs, of Sagan, in Don Brown's Body, and her incisive words on writers (like E.B. White– leve majesti indeed) who move to the country -- these are gifted and good. Each short piece, from the introduction to the index, is loaded with laugh-out-loud-remarks, situations and ideas.” [3]

Adaptations[edit]

In 1960, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released a film adapted from the book, directed by Charles Walters with a screenplay by Isobel Lennart. It starred Doris Day, David Niven, Janis Paige, Spring Byington, Richard Haydn, Patsy Kelly, and Jack Weston.[4] A storyline was created for the film, involving Day as a housewife married to a newly hired New York drama critic (Niven). In his first assignment, he must review a new show produced by his best friend, and he is forced to pan it. Meanwhile, a search for a new home for the family leaves Day dealing with the kids, carpenters, decorators, and the new neighbors by herself.

The film was in turn adapted as a television series that ran from 1965 to 1967 (58 half-hour episodes) starring Patricia Crowley and Mark Miller.

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