Entertainment » Books

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding

by Robb C. Sewell
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Saturday Mar 8, 2008
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding

Like many other gay boys, I had my share of pets as a child: my cocker spaniel Fifi, my mice Ping Pong and Cleopatra, a family of ducks, a cavalcade of cats, and a beautiful, gentle black-and-white guinea pig that I named Thumper. So, of course, fond memories of that long-ago pet resurfaced when I recently read Uncle Bobby's Wedding, a beautiful story about gay marriage and the precious bond between a little girl (who just so happens to be a guinea pig) and her beloved uncle. This wonderful new picture book not only celebrates the institution of family (in ways both familiar and new), but also honors diversity, tolerance, and love.

"Uncle Bobby's Wedding" explores the relationship between young Chloe and her favorite uncle Bobby and Chloe's worries that her uncle's love for her will diminish now that he's about to tie the knot with his male partner Jamie.

The book tells a simple story and expertly captures a child-like voice that should appeal to its many readers: children, parents, teachers, and those who are still children at heart. Author Sarah Brannen's illustrations are charming and beautiful. Readers will surely pore over the details that Brannen painstakingly illustrates: the beauty of nature, the tranquility of home, the spectrum of emotions, the joy of a wedding.

The narrative and characterizations are plain, straightforward, and uncomplicated, and hopefully should serve as an impetus for adults to broach the subject of same-sex relationships with the younger set. However, while the subject of gay marriage is central to Brannen's story, it ultimately takes a backseat to the age-old tale of relationships and friendships and how they're affected when someone new comes into the picture. It's a subject that we can all relate to: when our best friend finds a special someone, when a parent remarries, whenever someone we love embarks on a new relationship, those familiar worries and fears creep into our lives, our hearts. How will things change? Will we still spend time together? Will you still love me? These are the worries and fears that Chloe faces in "Uncle Bobby's Wedding," concerns that most people - from young children to adults - will understand and appreciate.

This novel makes a wonderful addition to a sadly limited collection of stories and books dealing with same-sex relationships. Nonetheless, it should rightly find a home in school and public libraries and in the homes of families across the world.

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 32 pages, $15.99

Learn more about author/illustrator Sarah Brannen at:

sarahbrannen.yellapalooza.com/

Robb C. Sewell is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. His fiction has appeared in Toasted Cheese, Parlor, and Mississippi Crow. His novel excerpt, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," was nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize. When not crafting new stories and characters, and pitching his play Breeding Ground, he enjoys spending time with his husband Eric and their cats Tabitha and Sciuto in their new home in Collingswood, NJ, and practicing yoga and breath therapy.


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