Donovan's Big Day

Overview

Donovan's two moms are getting married, and he can't wait for the celebration to begin. After all, as ringbearer, he has a very important job to do. Any boy or girl with same-sex parents—or who knows a same-sex couple—will appreciate this picture book about love, family, and marriage.  The story captures the joy and excitement of a wedding day while the illustrations show the happy occasion from a child's point of view.

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Overview

Donovan's two moms are getting married, and he can't wait for the celebration to begin. After all, as ringbearer, he has a very important job to do. Any boy or girl with same-sex parents—or who knows a same-sex couple—will appreciate this picture book about love, family, and marriage.  The story captures the joy and excitement of a wedding day while the illustrations show the happy occasion from a child's point of view.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Newman, who broke new ground with Heather Has Two Mommies (1989), returns with an overly earnest and curiously constructed story about a child's role in his same-sex parents' wedding, which follows such books as Uncle Bobby's Wedding (2008) and Mom and Mum Are Getting Married (2004). Newman doesn't reveal whose wedding it is until the final pages, instead devoting most of the story to lengthy descriptions of Donovan's preparations and observations. While she may have intended to build narrative tension before letting readers see that it's Donovan's Mommy and Mama at the altar, in reality it means wading through pages of run-on sentences that read like an instruction manual: "He had to tuck the little white satin box that Aunt Jennifer gave him into his inside jacket pocket and keep track of it at all times and not shake or crush it or squash it or lose it no matter what." Debut artist Dutton's digitally enhanced gouache paintings are bright and upbeat, clearly empathizing with the green-eyed hero's seriousness and pride. It's less about gay marriage than a child's wedding preparations—no matter who's getting hitched. Ages 4–7. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

Review, School Library Journal, April 1, 2011:
"As in Newman’s Mommy, Momma and Me (Tricycle, 2009), this book broaches a controversial issue in an appealingly nonthreatening way."

Review, Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2011:
"Centered on the child’s experience and refreshingly eschewing reference to controversy, the book emerges as a celebration of not only Mommy’s and Mama’s mutual love but progress toward equal marriage rights for same-sex couples."

From the Hardcover edition.

Children's Literature - Leigh Geiger
Donovan is preparing for something very special, but what is it? The mild tension builds as the preparations continue. Using repetitive phrases, which young children appreciate, Newman describes meticulously what young Donovan must do, and must be careful not to do. Young children will identify with how difficult it is to do everything just right: wash up carefully, but don't spill the water; feed the dog, but don't let him jump on your new clothes. It will clearly be a momentous event, as evidenced by the adorable gouache drawings which capture Donovan's excitement and anticipation. He is wearing a brand new suit and rushing to the car, dashing through the crowd. There is also a lot of love and caring in the air as everyone smiles fondly at Donovan, shaking his hand, hugging him and kissing him on the cheek. Hundreds of very dressed-up grownups have gathered. We feel Donovan's increasing sense of urgency. We also know how hard it is when he has to wait and wait and finally to walk so slowly down the aisle being careful not to run or bounce or dance! Finally, after so much anticipation, it's Donovan's big moment as he gets to open the box and hand out the rings to his Mommy and Mama. After much happy commotion, Donovan's biggest moment comes when he gets to kiss the two brides. Adults will see this as a tolerance teaching moment and it will help young children see that same-sex couples may be married, but the youngest children, will simply delight in hearing the story repeated many times and in repeating the "punch line" as the story comes to a satisfying finish. Reviewer: Leigh Geiger, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—When Donovan wakes up, he knows that he must dress quickly, eat carefully, and do everything just right because it is a very special day. At the end of the story, readers find out that he is the ring bearer at the wedding of his two mothers. When he plays his part without a hitch, he is rewarded with hugs and kisses from the happy brides. Newman and Dutton do a good job of capturing the excitement of a boy who knows he has an important job to do. They also successfully portray the idea that a wedding is a time of celebration. Not only Donovan but his grandparents and extended family are also excited about the big day, and all cry tears of joy at its happy ending. Child-friendly gouache illustrations capture Donovan's excited, self-conscious expressions as he moves carefully through his tasks. Dutton also includes details about the wedding, such as a teenage boy with his shirttails loose and the mother of one of the brides straightening her husband's tie, that give the story a familiar, comfortable feeling. As in Newman's Mommy, Momma and Me (Tricycle, 2009), this book broaches a controversial issue in an appealingly nonthreatening way.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582463322
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 4/26/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 713,798
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD1540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

LESLÉA NEWMAN has written over 20 books for children including the best seller Heather Has Two Mommies. She has received many literary awards and is currently the Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts.

MIKE DUTTON has worked on children's books, comics, coloring books, landscape paintings, and video game art. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Alex, and their cat, Raven. He is an active blogger.

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