This week’s picture book for children was written by Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls in the “Little House on the Prairie” series on television. It was illustrated by Julia Kuo, the creator of “20 Ways to Draw a Cat and 44 Other Awesome Animals.”
The book was inspired by Gilbert’s relationship with her father who, like the father in the book, was an entertainer. In the book, Daisy is an adorable little girl who wears her red hair in braids. She has freckles, just like her father, and an overbite. And Daisy loves Daddy.
When Daddy travels all across the country with his singing, dancing and music act, Daisy goes along with him. So does her teacher, Mrs. Minniear. Imagine packing up a schoolroom; that’s just what they do.
Daisy gets to meet a lot of people along the way, and her relationship with her little family is wonderful, but sometimes she dreams of having a special friend.
So one day, Daddy has a surprise for Daisy. He comes into her room with a little animal and sets it down in front of her. What is it? It’s the cutest little animal ever. Is it a cat? A piglet? The little animal has a “smooshy nose,” no tail and big ears. While Daisy has an overbite, this little animal has an underbite. Her little bottom teeth stick out. So does her little pink tongue. There’s a white star on her chest.
The little animal is a puppy, and her name is Josephine. But Josephine is no ordinary puppy. When Daisy takes her outdoors, Josephine doesn’t want to go down the back steps. Daisy has to carry her. She doesn’t want to fetch a stick, either. She just sits on the lawn chair. She doesn’t want to chase a squirrel or a red ball. Instead, she smells flowers and plays with a butterfly.
Daisy is frustrated. She asks Josephine what she’d like to do. Surprise! Josephine answers. She’s a French bulldog, and she can speak French, too. She says that she will teach Daisy to speak French. And in answer to Daisy’s question, Josephine says she would like to play dress-up.
So Daisy goes through her drawers. They go through a whole pile of clothes in Daisy’s room, but none of them are stylish enough for Josephine. She wants something sparkly.
Finally, they borrow clothes from the dolls. Josephine puts on a pink, frilly skirt, red tennis shoes and a tiara. Josephine is happy with her clothes — now to find some stylish pajamas for Daisy!
This is a “feel good” picture book about the nurturing relationships in a little girl’s life. Readers will fall in love with Josephine!
“Daisy and Josephine” is a Paula Wiseman Book, Simon &Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014. The hardcover book costs $17.99. It is a new book in the children’s room at the Moffat County Library.