A Tale of Two Daddies

November 2, 2013

A Tale of Two Daddies. Vanita Oelschlager, Kristin Blackwood & Mike Blanc, illus. 2010. 24 pages. VanitaBooks. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley]

This children’s book takes on the task of exploring a child’s curiosity about families with same-sex parents. I was wary because there is a risk of getting too “adult” or heavy in a book with this subject matter, but the author proved me wrong. Oelschlager presents the topic in the form of innocent questions from one child to another who has two fathers. The young boy asks his playmate which of her father’s is responsible for great version day-to-day care. He responses are, of course, what one would expect of a child — simple and honest. She isn’t rude or preachy in her answers, which may be more effective with kids.

The illustrations in this book are amazing and pulled me in immediately. The colors are bright and beautifully paired, and the characters are detailed yet simple. The illustrators’ use of shading enables them to highlight one or two colors in each drawing, so they’re not too busy. The images actually tell a story in and of themselves by focusing more on the children than on the adults who are the topic of conversation.

The epilogue provides an overview of the creative process between the two artists involved with the book. The step-by-step guide gives a rare glimpse into how the pictures went from pencil sketches to colorfully robust digital images. This would make a great teaching tool for kids to learn how digital illustrations differ from more traditional forms of art.

Overall, this is a strong book on all fronts. I definitely would recommend it for families like the one in the book, perhaps in giving kids an idea of how to respond to questions from their peers. I also think it is a great tool to help kids from “traditional” families learn about same-sex headed families.

Note: This is a companion book to “A Tale of Two Mommies.”

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