cover image Donovan's Big Day

Donovan's Big Day

Lesléa Newman, illus. by Mike Dutton, Random/Tricycle, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58246-332-2

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.)