Ryan’s Mom is Tall

Jopling, Heather (Author) and Demoe, Allyson (Illustrator). (2006). Ryan’s Mom is Tall. Cobourg, Ontario: Nickname Press.

This early reader introduces children to opposites as it describes Ryan’s two mothers: curly hair and straight hair, tall and short, skinny and curvy, brown eyes and blue eyes. I like that all body types and hobbies are described positively as parts of a person, and the fact that Ryan has two mothers is not remarked upon.

However, I really disliked the art. Each page shows some facet of a mother in a puzzle piece, and the final picture shows the entire family together, which is a neat concept that unfortunately failed. Several puzzle pieces are rather alarming as body parts are cut out, and I found it odd that the mothers’ heads and faces are not shown until the end. I’m also not sure if a child who is at the appropriate reading age for this book would really understand the puzzle pieces concept.

Overall, I’m always a fan of a children’s book that has a queer family just being normal. This is important not just for children with LGBTQ parents or other family members, but for kids in straight families who may not have had exposure to queerness before. Books like this normalize the LGBTQ community. Still, if a library has a limited budget, there are a lot of other LGBTQ children’s books with much better art and more sophisticated and interesting text.

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About Charlie McNabb

Archivist, Folklorist, Librarian, Legend Tripper, and Queer Activist
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