A Long Way From Curious George

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Children’s books have clearly come a long way from Curious George and the Little Golden Books but new does not necessarily mean improved.

In addition to such iconic tomes as Heather has Two Mommies and King and King, a raft of titles compete for the attention, not necessarily of toddlers but their teachers, many of them successfully.

“ONE DAD, TWO DADS, BROWN DAD, BLUE DADS tells the story of Lou and his gay fathers, who happen to be blue,” one reviewer wrote on amazon.com. “A young girl is very curious about his blue dads and asks many questions which Lou thinks are rather silly. For example, she wants to know if his blue dads can sing, cook, work, play, and stand on their heads like her dad can. Lou replies, ‘What funny ideas you have. Do you think dads are different because they are blue.’ The message is quite clear; blue dads, or gay dads, experience family life similar to white, black, or heterosexual dads. Alyson Press has recommended this book to children as young as two years old. I question whether or not very young children will be able to separate the blueness of the fathers to actually understand that having two dads is as ‘normal’ as having one. I suggest introducing this book to a three or four year old who is better able to understand the humor in having blue or green dads. The illustrations are eye catching, include diversity in many areas and display the fathers in many cross gender activities”.

“Funny and light-hearted, with nothing blatant,” another reviewer on Amazon.com opined. “Appeals to a preschooler’s sense of the ridiculous without insulting them. My five-year-old loved it, and he only has one dad and one mom. Also encourages thinking about racial issues and questions about how ‘other’ kids families might be structured (divorced, single-parent, step-families, gay families, adoptive families). Bright, well-composed illustrations. Vibrant text. MUCH more fun (and less preachy) than Heather has two mommies or the Daddy’s Roommate books.”

“I use this book in my preschool classroom with 3, 4, and 5 year-olds,” another reviewer noted of One Dad, Two Dads. “They love it, and instantly see the silliness in being afraid or worried about a family with two dads OR blue dads. We use it every year during our unit on families.”

One Dad, Two Dads joins a growing library of titles such as Daddy, Papa, and Me, And Tango Makes Three, and Mommy, Mama and Me. Let’s hope that these new literary giants don’t update Curious George: Who knows what his modernized, inquiring mind may want to know?

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org

 

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