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2009 Rainbow List selection
"Uncle Bobby's Wedding is a charming delight. Brad joins me in appreciation of your wonderful contribution to equality in marriage."
"What a joy! Being an actual 'Uncle Bobby' myself, I'm thrilled that Sarah Brannen's beautiful and moving tale has arrived just in time for the young, twenty-first century reader."
"This is SUCH a lovely, charming book. It's about time."
“I love it. It's a beautiful book that needs no explaining. The illustrations rock and Sarah does such a great job of showing us Chloe to be like so many girls in the world who are and just keep wanting to be their favorite person's favorite person.”
"Chloe and her family are guinea pigs, and within the clothed-animal genre they remind me of Lobel's Frog and Toad: not in style, but in the way their clothing and expressions establish personality--anthropomorphized but still guinea-piggish... A simple, gentle story (the hardest kind to write, imho), with lovely art that matches perfectly."
Articles and media
"Gay Uncles Face Off"
"What the Buck" Michael Buckley reads Uncle Bobby's Wedding aloud on his live show; starts about 22 minutes into the video.
Interview with Ashley Byrne
"The Tale of the Wise Librarian"
"How To Explain Gay Marriage to Your Kids"
"Librarian defends local author's gay-themed children's book"
"Colo. librarian defends gay-marriage storybook"
"Where Are Heather's Two Mommies?"
"Storm anticipated after children's book takes on 'gay marriage'"
"A gentle and loving yet realistic look at the complex feelings and emotions children may experience when a loved one gets married. The guinea pig characters are sweetly gentle and appealing, and while it is clear that Uncles Bobby and Jamie are gay, this is not the issue, making this an especially good choice for school units on feelings and families and celebrations. Highly Recommended.
"My favorite among these is probably Uncle Bobby's Wedding, the story of a little girl guinea pig who becomes jealous when her favorite guinea pig uncle decides to marry his gay guinea pig boyfriend. I liked the book's incidental treatment of the uncles' sexuality — the fact that the two rodents are homosexual is not mentioned or problematized, but simply accepted as the premise.
"But mostly I loved the book for its fashion. The gay Guinea Pigs have a sort of College Professor meets French Navy vibe to their daily style. Their longhaired male relatives rock a Walt Whitman look. And if my b.f. and I ever do decide to tie the knot, I'd want to don the exact nuptial outfits worn by Uncles Bobby and Jamie: tuxedo shirts, bow ties, tailed jackets, and no pants."
"What's most notable, though, is the book's approach. 'That the couple is gay is entirely matter-of-fact,' says Brannen. 'No one in the story bats an eyelid when Bobby announces he's marrying his boyfriend. It's not an 'issue' book; it's a story about a wedding.'"
"Here’s a timely picture book that adds to ever-growing diversity in today’s children literature... Well-told and charmingly illustrated with guinea pig characters, Brannen’s story will resonate with children. It’s a true gem for youngsters who have a gay member of the family. Books for children younger than 8 rarely include same-sex couples in a natural easy way. When children pick up a book and see a family that reflects theirs, it’s got to be comforting. And when the book doesn’t make a big deal about what can make them feel so different, it’s even better."
"Cute guinea pigs stand in for humans in this sensitive story in which Chloe is not concerned that her favorite uncle is marrying another male, only about how it will affect her close relationship with Uncle Bobby. When he assures her that they can still have fun together, she relaxes and gets into her role as flower girl. Sarah S. Brannen takes a calm, straightforward approach to this hot-button issue."
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding... is more than just a good LGBT-inclusive children’s book; it is a good children’s book, period. [It] deftly expresses a young child’s concerns about family relationships and change. It stresses the power of love to encompass both old and new. Brannen’s rich watercolor drawings match the tranquil but sometimes playful tone of the text. The book’s great strength is that Jamie’s gender is a non-issue throughout."
"Sarah Brannen's charming and delightfully drawn book is not about gay marriage... 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."
" I love this book. It's a sweet story, with realistic kid emotions, adorable illustrations, and a palpable absence of schlock... In case you can't tell from the cover, the reason it's been challenged is that, by the way, Uncle Bobby is marrying another male guinea pig. The book's been cited as "about gay marriage," which fascinates me, because it's not. It's about jealousy and change and the very real kid fear of losing adults' love. The character just happens to be gay... Which is really the best part."
"... 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. 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 sweet, double-page spreads in watercolor and graphite show the idyllic bond between the child and her uncle, as they walk together in the woods, row on the river, and more. The climax is the joyful, exciting wedding – the couple in tuxedos, Chloe as the flower girl, and the big, extended family all together, smiling and teary. A celebration of same-sex marriage, this is about family happiness."
"Though the story makes an easy springboard for adult-child dialogue, the issue of same-sex marriage is incidental to the plot, which straightforwardly addresses the fear of being replaced when a loved one marries. Featuring a sunny palette, Brannen’s delicately outlined watercolors convey the characters’ varied emotion ... and the mutual affection of the heroine and her uncle. The final scene, which depicts Chloe between her uncles in the light of a full moon, underscores Brannen’s reassuring message."
"A modest, affable look at jealousy and reassurance… Humor comes secondary to Chloe’s fear of displacement, but the fact of two men marrying is a refreshing nonissue here. At the festive wedding, Chloe declares, “I planned it all from the beginning,” as she realizes that she isn’t losing an uncle, she’s gaining one."
"Have I got a book for you... the beauty of the tale is that it isn't about gay marriage. It is about the way Chloe feels about her favorite uncle getting married. This is a sweetly illustrated, well-written book that tells an actualy story involving gay characters. What a concept."
"Imagine if Beatrix Potter had penned The Tale of Two Gay Guinea Pigs... thoroughly lovely and understated, but in a revolutionary way."
"This charming children's book is less an apologia for gay marriage than a tale about a little girl... once she realizes that she now has two doting uncles, all is well. As it should be."
"There’s been a buzz about this new picture book for several months, which must be an indication of just how hungry we are for queer books for younger kids... The cast is sweet, furry, and non-threatening... I can’t imagine a more innocuous picture book about family diversity and yet this one is likely to raise the ire of would-be censors, even more so, perhaps, because of the story’s over-all sweetness and lack of conflict."
"Without a fuss, Sarah Brannen's charming watercolor pages show the gay wedding of a pair of well-dressed guinea pigs, little Chloe's Uncle Bobby and his friend Jamie. The story and pictures are gentle and serene rather than controversial."
"This gentle, adorable new children's picture book arrives just in time for the summer wedding season, and it boasts three great strengths... it offers a simple, kid's-eye view of weddings... the book gives attention to a relationship that may be new ground even for some adults... third, "Uncle Bobby's Wedding" is filled with charming painted illustrations that strongly recall the animal pictures of Beatrix Potter."
"Uncle Bobby's Wedding is a treat. What could be more joyous than two people celebrating their love with a wedding? The fact that it is two guys is as incidental as the fact that it is two guinea pigs. This is a book about love, commitiment and family; and a celebration of all three."
"This charming and beautifully illustrated book skillfully addresses the fears of children who are 'losing' a beloved relative to marriage. In this case, that marriage is of two men whose families love them and support their relationship."