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. Continue reading
Neither (2018), created by Airlie Anderson, is a study in collapsing binaries. It’s both silly and serious, or perhaps neither of those things, depending on your point-of-view.
Anderson’s book opens like a fairy tale and reads like an allegory. Once upon a time, in a far way place named the Land of This and That, there were blue bunnies and yellow birds. Then something that was both, or neither, hatched. This thing that was both or neither had a bird body, bunny ears, and a bunny tale. Instead of being yellow or blue, it was green. The birds and bunnies didn’t know what to make of the new arrival and so they made fun at its expense, naming it Neither. Continue reading