Uncle Bobby's Wedding
Bobby and Jamie's wedding cake, served at the Belmont Children's Picture Book Festival in 2008
"Uncle Bobby's Wedding is a charming delight. Brad joins me in appreciation of your wonderful contribution to equality in marriage."
— George Takei
"What a joy! Being an actual 'Uncle Bobby' myself, I'm thrilled that Sarah Brannen's beautiful and moving tale has arrived just in time for the young, twenty-first century reader."
— Robert Sabuda
"Valiant, valid, validating, valuable."
— Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked
"This is SUCH a lovely, charming book. It's about time."
— Tomie de Paola
“I love it. It's a beautiful book that needs no explaining. The illustrations rock and Sarah does such a great job of showing us Chloe to be like so many girls in the world who are and just keep wanting to be their favorite person's favorite person.”
—Jacqueline Woodson, Newbery Honor–winning author of Show Way
"Chloe and her family are guinea pigs, and within the clothed-animal genre they remind me of Lobel's Frog and Toad: not in style, but in the way their clothing and expressions establish personality--anthropomorphized but still guinea-piggish... A simple, gentle story (the hardest kind to write, imho), with lovely art that matches perfectly."
—Linda Sue Park, Newbery Award–winning author of A Single Shard (Linda's blog)
Articles & Media
"Gay Uncles Face Off"
Brett Berk, The Advocate, September 24, 2008
"What the Buck" Michael Buckley reads Uncle Bobby's Wedding aloud on his live show; starts about 22 minutes into the video.
Interview with Ashley Byrne
LGBT Radio Manchester, BBC Manchester, air date TBA
"The Tale of the Wise Librarian"
"Weddings are supposed to be joyful occasions.
But reading about Uncle Bobby's big day in a children's book upset a grown-up library patron.
Fortunately, a calm and wise librarian, James LaRue, was there to guide the patron through the dark emotional woods that can be very scary after reading something unsettling."
—Deb Price, Detroit News, Aug. 17, 2008
"How To Explain Gay Marriage to Your Kids"
Interview on KGO-TV with Spencer Christian and Janelle Wang, July 23, 2008
"Librarian defends local author's gay-themed children's book"
"A patron at Douglas County Libraries in Colorado has submitted the first known challenge to Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, a children’s book by Massachusetts author Sarah Brannen, that features two gay guinea pigs."
— Dana Rudolph, Bay Windows, July 23, 2008
"Colo. librarian defends gay-marriage storybook"
"A new children's book that treats a child's fear of losing a favorite uncle's affection has been challenged by a Colorado mom unhappy that the adults in question are both males."
— Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate, gay.com, July 16, 2008
"Where Are Heather's Two Mommies?"
— Heather Boerner, The Advocate, July 15, 2008
"Storm anticipated after children's book takes on 'gay marriage'"
"Although Uncle Bobby's Wedding does what many children's books do - allay children's fears about change - and despite the fact that the same-sex nature of the marriage is never discussed (the two male guinea pigs both wearing tuxedos to their wedding says it all), there is concern that, as with books such as And Tango Makes Three, the story of a penguin with same-sex parents, there will be a parental outcry."
—John Howard, pride-life.co.uk
Video interview with Dana Rudolph on AfterEllen.com
Reviews of the 2008 edition
"A gentle and loving yet realistic look at the complex feelings and emotions children may experience when a loved one gets married. The guinea pig characters are sweetly gentle and appealing, and while it is clear that Uncles Bobby and Jamie are gay, this is not the issue, making this an especially good choice for school units on feelings and families and celebrations. Highly Recommended.
— Ann's Reading Blog
"My favorite among these is probably Uncle Bobby's Wedding, the story of a little girl guinea pig who becomes jealous when her favorite guinea pig uncle decides to marry his gay guinea pig boyfriend. I liked the book's incidental treatment of the uncles' sexuality — the fact that the two rodents are homosexual is not mentioned or problematized, but simply accepted as the premise.
"But mostly I loved the book for its fashion. The gay Guinea Pigs have a sort of College Professor meets French Navy vibe to their daily style. Their longhaired male relatives rock a Walt Whitman look. And if my b.f. and I ever do decide to tie the knot, I'd want to don the exact nuptial outfits worn by Uncles Bobby and Jamie: tuxedo shirts, bow ties, tailed jackets, and no pants."
— Brett Berk, Babble.com
"What's most notable, though, is the book's approach. 'That the couple is gay is entirely matter-of-fact,' says Brannen. 'No one in the story bats an eyelid when Bobby announces he's marrying his boyfriend. It's not an 'issue' book; it's a story about a wedding.'"
— Jeremy Savlen, Boston Spirit
"Here’s a timely picture book that adds to ever-growing diversity in today’s children literature... Well-told and charmingly illustrated with guinea pig characters, Brannen’s story will resonate with children. It’s a true gem for youngsters who have a gay member of the family. Books for children younger than 8 rarely include same-sex couples in a natural easy way. When children pick up a book and see a family that reflects theirs, it’s got to be comforting. And when the book doesn’t make a big deal about what can make them feel so different, it’s even better."
— Rebecca Young, Tacoma News-Tribune
"Cute guinea pigs stand in for humans in this sensitive story in which Chloe is not concerned that her favorite uncle is marrying another male, only about how it will affect her close relationship with Uncle Bobby. When he assures her that they can still have fun together, she relaxes and gets into her role as flower girl. Sarah S. Brannen takes a calm, straightforward approach to this hot-button issue."
— Regan McMahon, San Francisco Chronicle
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding... is more than just a good LGBT-inclusive children’s book; it is a good children’s book, period. [It] deftly expresses a young child’s concerns about family relationships and change. It stresses the power of love to encompass both old and new. Brannen’s rich watercolor drawings match the tranquil but sometimes playful tone of the text. The book’s great strength is that Jamie’s gender is a non-issue throughout."
— Dana Rudolph, Bay Windows
"Sarah Brannen's charming and delightfully drawn book is not about gay marriage... indeed, the words "gay" or "homosexual" do not appear once in the story. Instead, Uncle Bobby's Wedding is about a little girl (or rather, a guinea pig) coming to understand that people have the capacity to love more than one person, and highlights a family's joy as a beloved member pledges his life to another."
— Tracy Marie Nectoux, American Library Association GLBT Round Table
" I love this book. It's a sweet story, with realistic kid emotions, adorable illustrations, and a palpable absence of schlock... In case you can't tell from the cover, the reason it's been challenged is that, by the way, Uncle Bobby is marrying another male guinea pig. The book's been cited as "about gay marriage," which fascinates me, because it's not. It's about jealousy and change and the very real kid fear of losing adults' love. The character just happens to be gay... Which is really the best part."
— Jacqui Robbins, Jacqui's Room
"... a beautiful story about gay marriage and the precious bond between a little girl (who just so happens to be a guinea pig) and her beloved uncle. This wonderful new picture book not only celebrates the institution of family (in ways both familiar and new), but also honors diversity, tolerance, and love. Author Sarah Brannen’s illustrations are charming and beautiful. Readers will surely pore over the details that Brannen painstakingly illustrates: the beauty of nature, the tranquility of home, the spectrum of emotions, the joy of a wedding."
— Robb C. Sewell, The Edge March 8, 2008
"...the sweet, double-page spreads in watercolor and graphite show the idyllic bond between the child and her uncle, as they walk together in the woods, row on the river, and more. The climax is the joyful, exciting wedding – the couple in tuxedos, Chloe as the flower girl, and the big, extended family all together, smiling and teary. A celebration of same-sex marriage, this is about family happiness."
— Hazel Rochman, Booklist
"Though the story makes an easy springboard for adult-child dialogue, the issue of same-sex marriage is incidental to the plot, which straightforwardly addresses the fear of being replaced when a loved one marries. Featuring a sunny palette, Brannen’s delicately outlined watercolors convey the characters’ varied emotion ... and the mutual affection of the heroine and her uncle. The final scene, which depicts Chloe between her uncles in the light of a full moon, underscores Brannen’s reassuring message."
— Publishers Weekly, Jan. 7, 2008 (read the full review)
"A modest, affable look at jealousy and reassurance… Humor comes secondary to Chloe’s fear of displacement, but the fact of two men marrying is a refreshing nonissue here. At the festive wedding, Chloe declares, “I planned it all from the beginning,” as she realizes that she isn’t losing an uncle, she’s gaining one."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Have I got a book for you... the beauty of the tale is that it isn't about gay marriage. It is about the way Chloe feels about her favorite uncle getting married. This is a sweetly illustrated, well-written book that tells an actualy story involving gay characters. What a concept."
— Erin White, Strollerderby
"Imagine if Beatrix Potter had penned The Tale of Two Gay Guinea Pigs... thoroughly lovely and understated, but in a revolutionary way."
— Jonathan Riggs, Instinct Magazine
"This charming children's book is less an apologia for gay marriage than a tale about a little girl... once she realizes that she now has two doting uncles, all is well. As it should be."
— E.B. Bostner, Lavender Magazine
"There’s been a buzz about this new picture book for several months, which must be an indication of just how hungry we are for queer books for younger kids... The cast is sweet, furry, and non-threatening... I can’t imagine a more innocuous picture book about family diversity and yet this one is likely to raise the ire of would-be censors, even more so, perhaps, because of the story’s over-all sweetness and lack of conflict."
— Kathleen Horning, Worth the Trip
"Without a fuss, Sarah Brannen's charming watercolor pages show the gay wedding of a pair of well-dressed guinea pigs, little Chloe's Uncle Bobby and his friend Jamie. The story and pictures are gentle and serene rather than controversial."
— Jane Langton, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Fledgling
"This gentle, adorable new children's picture book arrives just in time for the summer wedding season, and it boasts three great strengths... it offers a simple, kid's-eye view of weddings... the book gives attention to a relationship that may be new ground even for some adults... third, "Uncle Bobby's Wedding" is filled with charming painted illustrations that strongly recall the animal pictures of Beatrix Potter."
— Mark David Bradshaw, Watermark Books
"Uncle Bobby's Wedding is a treat. What could be more joyous than two people celebrating their love with a wedding? The fact that it is two guys is as incidental as the fact that it is two guinea pigs. This is a book about love, commitiment and family; and a celebration of all three."
— Peter Glassman, Books of Wonder, New York City
"This charming and beautifully illustrated book skillfully addresses the fears of children who are 'losing' a beloved relative to marriage. In this case, that marriage is of two men whose families love them and support their relationship."
— Blake Hardy, Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Atlanta, GA
Awards & Recognition
June 14, 2008 - Sarah was honored by Mayor E. Denise Simmons and the City of Cambridge. She received a proclamation saying, in part, "We honor and thank Sarah Brannen for giving us the gift of Uncle Bobby's Wedding and creating a world more safe and free for all of us."