August 1, 2016

My Funny Medicine Man

On José Carlos Andrés & Natalia Hernández’s Mi papá es un payaso / My Dad Is a Clown

This time in we are happy to take into consideration a range of audience that we have disregarded so far: the children.

This delicious bilingual book published in 2013 tells the story of a little boy and his two fathers. The one is a doctor, and the other is a clown. They have explained the child that they two are really important to society: the one heals the body, and the other heals the soul.

The boy is still too young to be sure of what he wants to be when he grows up. He first ponders on becoming a spy, and persuades his Daddy Doctor to tail Daddy Clown just for one day. This way, the boy will find out the huge effort that Daddy Clown needs to make so as to result in an excellent work. He spends a lot of time working out in the gym, and that is just for starters; later in the theater, hours of rehearsal to tweak his performing arts. Andrés highlights a professional clown’s hard training: long sessions of practicing to make his gags perfect and get the audience’s loudest guffaw.

Enthusiastic about Daddy Clown’s job, the little boy has resolved that when he grows up he will be a doctor wearing a red sponge clown nose, making doctor visits fun so that kids may get rid of their usual apprehension. This final choice, the blending between medicine and comedy, can just be taken as a fine example of the 1st class moral, human, altruistic values that parents—whether straight or gay—could use to raise their children.

José Carlos Andrés portrays an affectionate same-sex parenting family with no particular trouble regarding social inclusion; also the boy—or any of his classmates—does not feel odd at all about having two fathers instead of the traditional father-and-mother pattern. We certainly know that we are dealing with a book for children: straightforwardness is supposed to be the name of the game, and things must be presented in a mild, agreeable way—that would be a simple reading to us. In fact, we believe that this book is the perfect illustration of one of the greatest achievements of our time: a homosexual couple raising a child is not viewed as a problem in an urban society in a developed country, so there is no need to demonstrate, persuade, convince, or argue about. Things seem definitely okay.

As is often the case with children’s literature, this charming story is illustrated, with sweet, rare, loving cartoonish pictures by artist Natalia Hernández.

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