Gary Essay, Research Paper
The two children’s books that I will compare and contrast are: 1) When We Married Gary, which is about a single mother with two daughters who remarries. The oldest daughter still misses her father occasionally, and the youngest has no memory of him. This is based on a true story and presents the positive things of a perfect remarriage, from the perspective the youngest daughter. 2) Dinosaurs Divorce, uses dinosaurs as the main characters and it explains the negative and positive things about divorce, living with one parent, and remarriage by an objective narrator. It does a nice job on explaining emotions children experience during these transitions and emphasizes that it is okay to have these feelings and to talk about them with their parents.
In When We Married Gary, there is not much discussion about values. It mainly describes the real life experience of a family. However, it appears that the gender roles are shared because the illustrations show both the mother and the stepfather taking turns playing with the girls, and they are also setting the table together as a family. The adults’ roles and responsibilities to the children seem to be very positive, understanding, and supportive. There are moments when the parents act silly with the girls, and they also discipline them at appropriate times. The stepfather seemed to have slipped in very casually. He let the girls know that he did not want to take their daddy’s place, but they can call him papa. The stepfather, who is a forest ranger, also takes the girls to work with him sometimes. The children’s roles and responsibilities to the parents are also very positive. The girls show respect and acceptance for their new father, and they even made him a card for Father’s Day. In Dinosuars Divorce, again, gender roles are not differentiated. There are illustrations of both divorced mothers and divorced fathers, both are aslo shown tucking children into bed. There are also fathers washing dishes and mothers gardening. Adults’ roles and responsibilities to the children are discussed in terms of being patient and understanding, and also that they should get along to make things easier. Both, custodial and noncustodial parents are encouraged to maintain a healthy realtionship with their children after divorce. It is emphasized that although their parents are divorced, they will continue being their parents. Children’s roles and responsibilities to adults are discussed in terms of how children can make things easier for their parents by being more independent and helpful around the house. However, it does caution that children should not try to turn into adults over night. If the parent meets a new friend that may become a new spouse, children are told that they should be respectful and give them a chance even if they don’t like them at first. It also disucusses children’s responsibilities to eachother when stepbrothers or stepsisters move into their room.
Each of the books deals with the issue of step families very differently. When We Married Gary, simply illustrates a happy remarriage that forms the perfect puzzle. There is no divorce discussed, only occasional moments where the oldest daughter misses the biological father. It depicts a very smooth transition into a family structure. All is well and everyone lives happily ever after. Other than the topic, this book has nothing in common with Dinosaurs Divorce. In Dinosaurs Divorce, the stages of divorce are discussed: before the divorce, after the divorce, visiting the noncustodial parent, telling friends, meeting parents’ new friends, and remarriage and living with stepparents. This book discusses common emotions that both children and parents experience, and it offers clear explanations and suggestions for coping in each stage.When We Married Gary, seems to be appropriate only for children who have the perfect step family. Although it is based on a true story, it seems to be a fairy tale. It is true that many step families work out, but there are those that turn into horror stories. It may be misleading and it really has nothing to offer children who are dealing with all the mixed emotions involved with the trauma of divorce and remarriage. It may also cause a child to have high or unrealistic expectations for their own situations. I don’t think I would want to read this book to a classroom, because there is no way to know exactly what each child’s family is like. If there happens to be a child who does live with a stepparent, and they do not fit this image, this child might begin to feel self conscious or believe that something is wrong with his or her familyAs far as the illustrations are concerned, they do seem to enhance the story.