Uncle What-Is-It Is Coming

Michael Willhoite, Author Alyson Books $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55583-205-6
Willhoite courts a repeat of the controversy touched off by his Daddy's Roommate with this uneasy mixture of political correctness and retrograde thinking. Tiffany and Igor have never met Uncle Brett, who is coming to visit tomorrow. When Tiffany asks if he's married, Mom ``gets sort of a funny look on her face'' and says, ``Well . . . as a matter of fact, he's gay.'' But she is interrupted before she can explain, and Tiffany and Igor turn to a couple of doltish teenagers for the definition of ``gay.'' One shows the children a newspaper photo of a Carmen Miranda impersonator marching in a gay pride parade (`` `Coochy, coochy, coochy,' squealed Shelby''). Shelby's brother, however, proffers an alternate vision of gays: ``dressed up in black leather. Zippers and chains all over 'em. Dark glasses . . . Chaps!'' Willhoite fills a few spreads with caricatures of transvestites and ``leather queens'' (there's even a multibraceleted limp wrist on the book's cover), and these exotic images are sure to make a deeper impression on young readers than the book's conclusion, which, of course, introduces Brett as perfectly ordinary dresser. Alas, this volume is stronger at defining stereotypes than at demolishing them. Ages 4-8. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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