Melissa Gilbert of “Little House on the Prairie” fame and her French bulldog Josephine visited Montrose’s Once Upon a Time bookstore on Saturday night to debut her new children’s book, “Daisy and Josephine.” Young readers, many dressed in their pajamas, gathered in the bookstore for a fun evening of storytelling while their parents fulfilled childhood dreams of meeting “Laura Ingalls.”
“Daisy and Josephine” was written by Gilbert and illustrated by Julia Kuo. It follows the story of Daisy, the young daughter of an entertainer. Life is lonely for Daisy until her father presents her with a new puppy named Josephine, a dog unlike any other. Not only can she talk to Daisy in English and French, but she also has a passion for fashion, turning Daisy into a “pajama princess” by the end of the book.
Attendees to the book signing were encouraged to wear pajamas and Gilbert was no exception; neither, for that matter, was Josephine. Both donned a pair of pink pajamas while at the event. Golden paper crowns were passed out to all, turning everyone into a “pajama princess” just like Daisy.
“Even pajamas can be stylish and fun,” Josephine tells Daisy in Gilbert’s book.
The inspiration for Gilbert’s book is her own charismatic dog Josephine. Gilbert explained to the audience that the glamorous nature of her dog began when someone jokingly put a prop hat on Josephine. Now, the French bulldog wears everything from tutus to pajamas, making them look more stylish than any human ever could. However, “Daisy and Josephine” is more than just an anecdote about a fashionable talking dog.
“I was going through a divorce and I woke up and said I need to write a story for kids who don’t have a ‘normal’ family. There are so many different kinds of families now. It’s not about who it is, it’s about the love,” Gilbert said. “Then I thought of my own dad.”
Paul Gilbert was an entertainer and the inspiration behind Daisy’s father in the book. Melissa pulled memories from every part of her childhood, even including her on-set “Little House on the Prairie” teacher in the book.
Gilbert expressed hopes of writing more adventures for Daisy and Josephine in future books, already pulling inspiration from her Chihuahua Lulu.
The stunning illustrations and captivating storyline of “Daisy and Josephine,” enhanced by the engaging storyteller, were a hit at Once Upon a Time. All in attendance on Saturday found themselves entertained by Gilbert’s charisma, from the reading to the reminiscing to the signing itself.