Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Children’s Book Review, Mummy and Mumma Get Married

Reviewed by Susan Stephenson,

This children’s picture book was created by Roz Hopkins and Natalie Winter, illustrated by Cara King and published by Captain Honey (2015).

From the publisher:

Phoebe wonders why her mummies aren’t married. When she is told that they’d like to, but You-Know-Who won’t come to the party, Phoebe is undeterred.

With her trusty sidekick, Biscuit the cat, she plans a big surprise wedding for her mummies. Soon, the whole town is in on it and they are all coming along. But what about You-Know-Who. Will they ruin the surprise or make the day?

Mummy and Mumma Get Married would make a thoughtful choice for librarians, teachers and parents who want to be sure they have diverse stories and characters available to kids. It’s about Phoebe, a little sweetie who lives with her Mummy and her Mumma. When everyone else in their lives seems to be marrying (including movie stars like Hugh Packman and Jennifer Aniseed!) she decides to throw a wedding for her two mums. The worry is over whether You-Know-Who will come. (Exactly who this is is not made clear, and yet there are plenty of clues as to whom it might be, with authority and political figures hinted at, as well as the inevitably difficult family member.)

Hopkins and Winter have kept the story simple and I believe succeeded in allowing kids to take in as much or little as they need of the fraught question of marriage equality by letting parents and teachers answer questions that may or may not arise. I suspect younger kids will accept the wedding matter-of-factly, and wish to know more about the unicorn or the elephant who somehow join the celebration! King has illustrated the book in gentle yet vibrant colours and with more than a hint of whimsy. Kids will love all the subtext details supplied by the illustrator, and I think adults will chuckle over many of the cartoon-style characters.

There are excellent teacher notes to accompany the book, with activities and discussion prompts to have kids think about weddings and marriages, and who should decide when someone wants to marry.

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