There are so few good quality picture books with gay characters in them that, quite frankly, it’s a bit shocking. When people come into my library looking for “non-traditional families” it’s pretty much And Tango Makes Three or nuthin’. Any book where the entire point of the narrative is a didactic look at how everybody’s okay is going to suffer. You just can’t make a good story that’s interesting to kids that way. Far better would be to go the route of Mini Mia and Her Darling Uncle. Now there is a book that knows what it’s doing. Written and illustrated by the always interesting Pija Lindenbaum, the tale about the simple jealousy of a child makes for as good a story about acceptance as anyone could hope for.
I like that this kind of story is normally seen when the plot centers around a single parent dating. Mia’s jealousy is clear as clear can be. She may not be able to identify why she finds Fergus’s presence so annoying, but what does seem clear is that Tommy’s attention is definitely being misdirected elsewhere. You also could argue that her naughty behavior (which never gets too bad) is more attention-seeking than anything else. I’ve always enjoyed Lindenbaum’s drawing style too. If you didn’t know that this book was originally published in Sweden I’d doubt that it would occur to you. Once you know, of course, then it’s the only thing you can see. Buying bags of chips in a movie theater? Odd. The shape of the well-designed tulip chairs in the coffee shop? Definitely chic. The fact that the aforementioned movie theater appears to have a unisex bathroom? Yeah, it’s very Swedish but all the more amusing when you get into it.