cover image Daisy and Josephine

Daisy and Josephine

Melissa Gilbert, illus. by Julia Kuo. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4424-4578-9

Daisy lives a glamorous life with her handsome father, a famous entertainer: “New York! Miami! Las Vegas! There were lots of shows and new people to meet.” But despite an attentive Daddy and a kind tutor/nanny, Josephine is lonely. A new, odd-looking, and disinterested puppy named Josephine only makes Daisy feel worse until Josephine reveals she’s actually a talking French bulldog with a passion for fashion. Kuo’s (Everyone Eats!) crisp pencil line and soft blue-pink palette create intriguing visual tension and may remind some adults of classic fashion illustration; Daddy’s Rat Pack good looks add a dash of Kennedy era chic. This is the first children’s book from Gilbert, best known for her TV role as Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie; unfortunately, this fashion-focused fantasy feels somewhat slack. Readers may be hard-pressed to connect with a character as passive as Daisy, and the far-from-charismatic Josephine is more of a magical quick fix than a real remedy to the girl’s melancholy. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Dan Strone, Trident Media Group. Illustrator’s agent: Emily Van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Jan.)