Brian McNaught’s “What’s ‘gay’?” asked Mae (2018)

The very odd “What’s ‘gay’?” asked Mae (2018) written by Brian McNaught and illustrated by Dave Woodford, tracks a conversation two children have with a variety of birds about the meaning of the word ‘gay.’ Beyond the awkward set-up—Mae asks her cousin Ray what ‘gay’ means and birds respond—the text is poorly formatted, and the illustrations do not reflect a consistent style. The short book is jarring and uncomfortable to read aloud. Although the message of acceptance is commendable, this short picture book isn’t a good vehicle.

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!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.