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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

King & King

After finding out about this news item via this Christdot news post, I wanted to see for myself if the children's book King & King (which ends with a gay marriage) was as bad as all that. I checked it out from the library and discovered that it is far more blatant and aggressive about homosexuality than I had imagined, while simultaneously being a very good example of poor storytelling and illustration. It is clear almost from the first page that the whole book is there as nothing more than a vehicle to present a marriage between two males as a legitimate, inevitable thing. The pictures are ugly, and the characters and story are wooden. There is no mention of why there might be a queen mother and prince but no king... did the king die? Was the prince adopted? Is the queen divorced? It's a completely fractured family from the very start... no wonder the poor prince is sexually confused. I would have expected gay activists to at least choose an engaging book to play up their ideas; using this book to promote gay marriage is sort of like trying to use a burned hamburger patty to convince people to eat more tofu.

Sometimes I make up stories for my little boy. I've made up better ones than this on the fly, half asleep and without anything in mind when I started but "Once there was a frog named Jed and... a Lizard named... um... Larry." And frankly, if my mother was as ugly as the queen is in the book, and if every woman I saw looked like the "princesses" that are presented to him as potential romantic objects, I'm not sure if I would have married a woman myself. Why the school system of Massachusetts would use such a forgettable, inferior book to try to "influence the listening children toward tolerance of gay marriage," I have no idea. I would expect this one to influence them the other way, if it influenced them at all.

I took the book back to the library within the same hour that I checked it out. I didn't want it in my house where my son might find it. I try to expose him to lots of story and art, and if this had been a good example of either I might have even considered looking at it with him to bring up subjects that parents need to address with their children. It was not worth my time to do so.

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