By Billie Wharton
Searching for a Christmas present that will help your children challenge the heterosexual norms of the nuclear family? This may not seem like a typical holiday season consideration, but for left-wing parents buying a gift for their children can mean a treacherous navigation through a world of militarism, frozen gender roles and idiocy (see the popular szu-szu pet). Luckily, our friends at PM Press have just the trick. A subversive coloring book that re-engineers popular fairy tales.
Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away With Another Spoon was written by Jacinta Bunnell and illustrated by Nathaniel Kusinitz. Bunnell states in a short intro that what draws her to creating things for children “is the all out cross-dressing, binary-smashing disregard for gender norms” that children embrace.
And there is plenty of traffic across traditional gender roles here. A mighty monster who prefers petite dresses and a fancy dog to scaring people. A wedding cake with the inscription “Marriage is so gay” below it. And a smiling boy dressed as Wonder Woman above the line “Not every little boy wants to be Superman when he grows up.”
Each page contains these smartly drawn punk rock cartoons that challenge traditional gender politics in an obvious, but not overbearing manner. You get the feeling that this book is more about the fun of childhood than any grownup agenda. Yet, it will produce many teachable moments.
My 5 year-old daughter was particular drawn to a page that features a cute princess puckering up for a kiss with a frog. The air bubble above the princess expresses her true desires for a non-traditional outcome to her magical smooch. “I hope it’s another princess, I hope it’s another princess…” My daughter laughed out loud, before asking a series of questions. What a wonderfully disarming way to begin such a conversation.
So, if you are looking for a Holiday present that offers a bit more than empty kicks Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away With Another Spoon might be an excellent fit. Good for a conversation piece with friends or as an educational resource for subversive youth. And anyway as my daughter observed, “It’s cute!”