In Barbara Danish’s The Dragon and the Doctor (1971)

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In Barbara Danish’s The Dragon and the Doctor (1971), Dr. Judy, a kind doctor with brown skin and curly hair, parties with a bunch of strange animals after helping a friendly dragon. The dragon stores objects, including roller blades, in her tail. Dr. Judy unzips the dragon’s tail, makes her a balloon bag to keep her things in, and is rewarded with a party invitation. The party is full of quirky animal characters doodled by Danish. At the party Dr. Judy helps Lucy, a yellow animal (perhaps a hedgehog) who has chicken pox. Dr. June and her dino friend race Lucy home, where she is cared or by two moms.

The word “quirky” describes it well. This text, featuring a black woman doctor and yellow lesbian hedgehog moms, would have been quite provocative when it came out in 1971. It’s not surprising that it was published by The Feminist Press at City University of NY. It had a small, very targeted audience. A fun read, but I don’t recommend it for purchase (although it was re-released in 1995).

This review is part of my “Snapshots of LGBTQ Kid Lit” project. I’m working on a book, The New Queer Children’s Literature: Exploring the Principles and Politics of LGBTQ* Children’s Picture Books, which is under contract with the University Press of Mississippi. Part of my research is identifying and interpreting English-language children’s picture books with LGBTQ* content published in the US and Canada between 1979 and 2019. Follow my blog to follow my journey!

 

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