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Newman, Lesléa
Illustrated by Annette Hegell
Toronto, Women's Press, 1993. 24pp, paper,
$6.95, ISBN 0-88961-181-5. CIP

Subject Headings:
Children of gay parents-Family relationships-Juvenile fiction.
Children of divorced parents-Family relationships-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Linda Holeman

Volume 22 Number 1
1994 January / February

This is a story about family relationships. Two gay women, Allie and Patty, separate, leaving Frankie, Allie's young son, confused and upset over the departure of his "other" mom, Patty.

The story is told in first person, with Frankie a very typical little boy--one who has a special stuffed friend, Doris Delores Brontosaurus, one who listens when he's supposed to be sleeping, and one who is frightened by the changes in the grown-up world around him.

The women help Frankie work through this difficult time by having him visit Patty every Saturday. Frankie is initially distraught during his first visit, and at one point he lashes out at Patty.

Then Frankie worries that if he and Patty fight, they too might have to be divorced. But Patty assures him, "Only grown-ups get divorced. Not kids." She tells him, "You will always have two moms. You will always be my son and you will always be Allie's son."

The ending shows Frankie's acceptance of the new situation by his decision to leave Doris Delores behind at Patty's, for his next Saturday visit--his next "Pattyday."

The illustrations are simple and child-like, the pages alternating between colour and black and white. The main complaint I heard from young readers was that it was difficult to make out some of the words that were superimposed on the illustrations, giving the text a slightly distorted effect at times.

Viewed as a story about a different kind of family, this little book is delicately and tastefully done. In all probability it will cause confusion for a young reader with knowledge of only a mom and dad family, but may be a starting point, especially for parents, for talking to children about alternative family forms.

Linda Holeman, a former elementary teacher, now writes full time in Winnipeg, Manitoba

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