Friday, October 3, 2008

Uncle Bobby's Wedding

It's still Friday, right? Welcome to the final installment of Elise's Banned Book Challenge, in which

Jacqui Reads Her Children Books That Other People Think Are Bad For Them*

Week #6:
Uncle Bobby's Wedding
by Sarah Brannen

When Chloe's Uncle Bobby announces he's getting married, Chloe worries she'll be replaced in her favorite uncle's heart.

Thoughts: I love this book. It's a sweet story, with realistic kid emotions, adorable illustrations, and a palpable absence of schlock.

I asked Tink to review it.

TINK: OOOOOOHHHHH! Chloe is so CUTE! Mee mee mee mee! (Mee mee" being the noise impossibly cute guinea pig babies make, I guess.)
JACQUI: Can you guess why people don't want you to read this book?
TINK: Yeah yeah yeah. Whatever. Can we read it again?

In case you can't tell from the cover, the reason it's been challenged is that, by the way, Uncle Bobby is marrying another male guinea pig. The book's been cited as "about gay marriage," which fascinates me, because it's not. It's about jealousy and change and the very real kid fear of losing adults' love. The character just happens to be gay.

Which is really the best part. My favorite "issue" books are those where the issue isn't an issue. Sometimes I think we put ideas into kids' heads even as we're trying to teach them tolerance. It wasn't until I read Garth Williams' The Rabbits' Wedding (and talked about how dumb it was when people complained that one rabbit was white and the other was black) that Tink ever mentioned the different races of her friends' parents. The best books, for my part, are the "just happens to be" books, those which normalize what the author is trying to normalize by not making it an issue.

I was talking about this yesterday vis-a-vis children with disabilities. It's hard to find good books with disabled main characters where the book isn't all about the disability. Ditto adoption. And a variety of other topics.

So, I ask you: what are some of your favorite "just happens to" books?

* For explanation, see here.

1 comment:

cindy said...

love tink! and i need to get this book!!!