To celebrate, here’s a round-up of the banned books we picked out this year for our small children:
And Tango makes Three by Justin Richardson. This is a sweet book about the real-life same-sex penguin couple in the Central Park Zoo and how they became a family with the addition of an adopted egg. The illustrations of Tango’s daddies being in love and of baby Tango herself are adorable, and the narration tells from the beginning that families come in all kinds.
King & King (series) by Linda de Haan. This was a slow read for us because there’s so much to see on every page! In a send-up of the usual fairy-tale conventions, King Bertie and King Lee fall in love and get married and then go on an outlandish jungle honeymoon adventure, where they see all kinds of families and eventually start their own. Ithilien enjoyed “reading” it to himself by listing all the things he could see in each spread and giggled quite a bit over the cat wearing a crown.
The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein. A pretty long and wordy book which probably isn’t appropriate for the more wiggly audience, this one had a strong “It gets better!” message for kids who are teased and bullied for being “different”. Númenor was close to tears at the climax, in which the protagonist’s closed-minded father is wounded by hunters and left for dead by the flock, but both smalls loved the illustrations showing Elmer the duckling being his fabulous self, and there is a happy ending.
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. This is a wonderfully absurd little work in which our hero is a naked toddler who is up after his bedtime– or maybe it’s all a dream– to help the cooks of the Night Kitchen prepare the morning cake. Sendak considers this the prequel to Where the Wild Things Are, and, like its more-famous cousin, this book is a wonderful showcase of a child protagonist actually behaving like a child. Númenor and Ithilien, who are 4 and three-quarters and nearly 4 years old respectively, found the story uproariously funny (especially the part where the child says “I’m not the milk and the milk’s not me! I’m Mickey!”) and were red-faced with laughter by the time we reached the last page.
What books are part of Banned Books Week at your house?