When young Chloe learns that her Uncle Bobby is marrying his boyfriend Jamie, her reaction is what many children might have to such startling news: where will she fit in her favorite uncle’s new life?
Sarah Brannen’s charming and delightfully drawn book is not about gay marriage (or even Uncle Bobby); indeed, the words “gay” or “homosexual” do not appear once in the story. Instead, Uncle Bobby’s Wedding is about a little girl (or rather, a guinea pig) coming to understand that people have the capacity to love more than one person, and highlights a family’s joy as a beloved member pledges his life to another.
Because Chloe has not been taught that some types of love are “wrong,” it is not who her uncle is marrying that concerns her, but rather that her uncle is marrying at all (regardless of gender). And because Bobby and Jamie do not have to focus their energies on justifying their relationship to Chloe (or to anyone), they are able to spend time with her, reassure her that they love her, and show her that she is welcome in their lives.
Thus, Brannen’s story takes something that is, regretfully, still not normative in our society and asks, “what if it was?” In doing so, it shows us how a child can be made to feel safe and loved, and how her life can be enriched when she is protected from the burden of being taught to fear others who are different.
Unhesitatingly recommended for all children’s libraries.
Reviewed by Tracy Marie Nectoux
Cataloger, Illinois Newspaper Project
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign