A book like this, which is about marriage equality and democracy and yet is suitable for children and adults, is an achievement.
Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo illustrated by EG Keller and written by Jill Twiss.
‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ is a satirical American television show. When Oliver heard that Charlotte, the daughter of American Vice President Mike Pence, had written a children’s book about Pence’s pet rabbit called Marlon Bundo, he decided to ask Jill Twiss to write a book about Marlon too. The purpose was to write a book with genuine appeal to children but which also strongly supports same-sex marriage – to which Pence is fanatically opposed. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is the happy result.
Marlon tells his story in the first person. He says the story is not about his Grampa, the Vice President, ‘Because he isn’t very fun. This story’, he says, ‘Is about me, because I’m very, very fun’. And Marlon goes on to tell how he met his friend Wesley and how they hopped together in the garden and hopped together in the house and hopped ‘through a meeting with Very Boring People’. After that, they decide they only wanted to hop with each other and said, ‘We will get married and hop together Forever’.
They tell all the animals in the garden about their plans, and thus the reader gets to meet a delightful collection of creatures, including Pumpernickel who is a badger and Paws who is ‘a very good dog’. Although the animals are happy about the marriage plans, the Stink Bug tells them they can’t get married because ‘Boy Bunnies have to marry Girl Bunnies’. Fortunately it turns out that the Stink Bug can be voted out of office. And so the story proceeds from there with an ending suitable for readers of all ages – except those hostile to the LGBTIQ+ community.
The best children’s books appeal to people of all ages, have delightful illustrations, and a plot that challenges the heroes of the story but has a satisfactory outcome. This book meets those criteria even though its purpose is also to convey a message – it’s OK to be ‘different’. ‘I am different too,’ says Dill Prickle, who is a hedgehog. ‘I read the ends of books before I read the beginnings, just to make sure they’re not too sad for me'.
A book like this, which is about marriage equality and democracy and yet is suitable for children from about the age of four, is a significant achievement.
Rating: 4 ½ stars ★★★★☆
Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
By Marlon Bundo with Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents
Size: 10 x 10 in;
Pages: 40 pp;
Publication: March 2018
Publisher: Chronicle Books