Told from Donovan’s perspective, the book is beautifully written for the 4-to-8-year-old set, with sweet, cheerful drawings by Mike Dutton. It builds suspense from the moment Donovan wakes up to the culmination of his big day, and manages to convey Donovan’s nervousness, seriousness, and joy to the reader. As I read:
When the tall grown-up in the long black robe said, “I now pronounce you wife and wife,” Donovan threw his arms around his mothers while everyone clapped their hands and stamped their feet and whooped and whistled and hollered, “Hooray!”
I cried. I cried again the second time I read the book, and the third, and every time I’ve read it since, including when I heard my son read it to my daughter.
Donovan’s Big Day isn’t just for kids with same-sex parents—it’s a book for all children. Despite the political life of The Issue of Gay Marriage, at its heart gay marriage is simply marriage, the joining of two people who love each other. Donovan’s New Day is not about politics or strife, but simply what it’s like for a child to witness and participate in one of the most purely wonderful moments in a family’s life. Leslea wrote the book after watching gay and lesbian couples get married on May 17, 2004, the first day same-sex marriage was legal in her home state of Massachusetts. “There were many, many children present that day,” she said, “children of those couples, children as bystanders…participating in all the joy.”
Every child should get to read this book, or have it read to them by their teary-eyed parents.
(And by the way, I can hardly believe Leslea has written yet another book. Three months ago I reviewed her then-new board books Mommy, Mama, and Me, and Daddy, Papa, and Me, both of which you’ll want to give to every toddler you know. She is a prolific writer, penning not only picture books but middle-grade and teen novels, and, for adults, fiction, non-fiction, humor, short stories, and poetry. It’s worth poking around her website to learn more.)
Leslea was kind enough to send me an autographed copy of Donovan’s Big Day to give away to one of you. I invite you to enter for a chance to win this hardcover book by commenting on this post below (if you’ve received this review in your email box, just click on the title of the post and you’ll be taken to my blog, where you can enter a comment). You’ll need to either leave your email address in your comment or friend me on facebook so I can find you if you’re the winner.
Thank you, Leslea—for giving away this book to one of my readers, for writing this book, and for all you do to make this world a more wonderful, joyful place.