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Donovan’s Big Day by Leslea Newman

cover Donovan's Big DayA close examination of the cover of Lesléa Newman’s Donovan’s Big Day — which features two, shiny gold rings dangling overhead — hints that the story involves a wedding. If you miss that cue, you’ll probably spend half of the book wondering just what Donovan’s “very BIG day” is all about. (Which could actually be a lot of fun for young readers!) But if you’re a fan of Newman’s work, you already know it’s not a “typical” wedding. Newman is one of a handful of authors who pens children’s books featuring same-gender parents and how their families are just like every other family out there. And Donovan’s family, as well as his big day, is no different. (more…)

The Rabbits’ Wedding by Garth Williams

cover for The Rabbits' WeddingIn this delightful story meant to parallel interracial relationships, a black rabbit and white rabbit play together in the forest. In between games, the black rabbit keeps “just thinking.” He doesn’t tell the white rabbit what he is thinking until half way through the book when she insists that he share his thoughts. He tells her that he wishes he could be with her forever but he knows that can’t happen. The white rabbit tells the Black Rabbit that he can have his wish if he wishes hard enough for it. When he tells her that he wants to be with her forever, she agrees to be with him forever and ever. The animals of the forest come out to celebrate their wedding.

This is a good book to demonstrate to children that wishes can come true, the importance of telling a person that you love them when you do, and the obvious: that physical differences especially skin/fur color should never stop people from deciding to be together forever. I’m not a huge fan of the “I’m thinking” motif used in the story or the fact that the only bunnies that come to their wedding are the black bunnies—I actually found the latter quite disturbing as it was illustrated clearly without being mentioned in the text. Other than those exceptions, I think ‘The Rabbits’ Wedding’ is a lovely way to introduce small children to the idea of obviously different people being friends and marriage partners.

Recommendation: Recommended; Ages 4+
Book Review by Omilaju Miranda