Lucy Goes to the Country (1998), written by Joseph Kennedy and illustrated by John Canemaker, is an Alyson Wonderland publication told from the point-of-view of a well-loved cat with gay pet-parents. Lucy spends most of her time with her “Big Guys” at an apartment in the city. But Lucy is lucky on multiple accounts. Her Big Guys work at home so she’s never lonely, and every weekend the family goes to the country.
The story pivots around the family’s preparation for a party in the country. When the guests arrive Lucy catches a mouse along with the attention of the distressed party guests! She follows this bit of excitement by chasing a puppy up a tree, knocking down a hive of angry bees in the process.
Canemaker’s illustrations are bright, fun, and delightfully campy. They bring the story to life! Lucy’s antics are giggle-worthy, and Lucy and her pet-parents are all nicely developed. If published fifteen to twenty years later this kitty-centric picture book could have been a series, but in the late-1990s LGBTQ picture books were few and far between.
This is a clever and fun book worth adding to your collection if you can get your hands on it. There’s a fair share of sly humor in it for adults, but nothing inappropriate for young readers!
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!