Valentine, Johnny (Author) and Sarecky, Melody (Illustrator). (1994). One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads. Boston: Alyson Wonderland.
In this quirky picture book, two children compare notes about their dads. Lou has two blue dads, who play piano and make wonderful chocolate cream pies. His friend has one dad who plays the kazoo and makes chocolate fondue. While their blue color is unusual, Lou says “our life is routine, and they’re just like all other dads.”
I really liked how the same sex relationship is not even mentioned or identified as different—their blue color is what Lou’s friend wonders about. Also, Lou is Black (also not mentioned). This book portrays racial and sexual diversity in an engaging and very age-appropriate way.
The pictures are fun and the rhymes are silly. Dr. Seuss is clearly a strong inspiration here. Children 3-6 will enjoy pointing out all the activities (headstands, playing with dogs, eating cookies), and the message about family structures will not pass unnoticed for children in queer families.
Unsurprisingly, One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads has been targeted as “immoral” and was even banned in the Surrey (British Columbia) School District. Queer families and advocates, however, understand how important it is for children’s books to portray diverse children and families. The Anti-Defamation League recommends this book on their multicultural and anti-bias books for children list.