Heather Has Two Mommies

July 29, 2018
Subheader: 

The only interesting thing about it is the title. And someday, even that won't be interesting.

Review: 

It's one of those books, like "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats, whose mere existence is important. I am kind of stunned that it took until 1989 for something like this to be published, and with a rather small niche press. So it's a revolutionary book concept, but the book itself is just okay.

There's a little girl named Heather. She likes the number two. She has two mommies. The illustrations seem like somebody copied them from the nineteen sixties or earlier. The book is just full of--I don't know what to call it--hippie-type stuff? But it's not necessarily stuff the hippies actually cared about at the time. Although to be fair, one of the moms has a shirt that says "no nukes" on it, and that's quite hippie-ish. Nearly every family at the playgroup Heather goes to is nontraditional in some way, to a point that breaks my suspension of disbelief. Is it a playgroup aimed at nontraditional families? It's like playing minority bingo.

It's kind of interesting that that they actually mention the doctor putting sperm into Jane (the biological mother)'s vagina. It doesn't talk about what that means except that a baby grows there. They have a midwife, who is drawn like a female Jesus or something. One mother is a doctor, one mother is a carpenter. I mean, congratulations on having characters who break traditional gender roles, but it actually reinforces the stereotype that lesbians tend to be more masculine than straight women. Everything in this book is just too convenient.

At the playgroup, Molly, the woman who runs it, reads a book about a boy whose father is a veterinarian. The other kids talk about their daddies, and Heather basically starts crying because she doesn't have a daddy. Molly says, that's okay, not everybody has a daddy. Another girl says that she doesn't have a daddy, just a mommy and a sister (it doesn't explain whether her father is dead or just not around). Stacy says, I have two daddies. Another kid says, I have two daddies also, my dad and my step-daddy. Then they all draw pictures of their families, this super-multicultural group. Juan has a mommy and a daddy and a big brother named Carlos. Miriam has a baby sister and a mother. Stacy has two daddies. Joshua has a mommy and a stepfather and a daddy. David has a mommy and a daddy and two brothers and a sister, all of whom were adopted, and one of them uses a wheelchair. Like he hit the token minority lottery.

Heather's mommies see her picture of them, and then they go home. And that's it. I mean it's got a great message, it's just boring.

In the new edition, copyright 2015 and illustrated by Laura Cornell (who also illustrates Jamie Lee Curtis's books), some of the text was actually changed. It no longer mentions that Heather is making a table with her carpenter mother. The teacher doesn't explicitly state that it's okay to have two mommies. It kind of glosses over Stacy's two daddies, and David, the lottery winner, isn't even mentioned. The text seems a bit modernized, but it's still quite boring. It has some slight improvements, but some changes made it a bit worse, so it evens out.

Maybe if this story was about an actual real person with two mommies, it might be more interesting. Or about some kind of interesting event. But as it is, it's a boring day in someone's life.

Message: 

Children with two mommies are just like any other child.

Author
Publication Year
  • 1989
Age Range
Age Range: 
n/a
Number of Pages
Number of Pages: 
33
Number of Words on Typical Page
Number of Words: 
40

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