Madame Martine is the latest picture book from Sarah Brannen, the author and illustrator whose gay-inclusive children’s book Uncle Bobby’s Wedding sits on many of our shelves. It doesn’t have any explicitly LGBTQ characters this time, but it’s a charming tale and I’m happy to support an LGBTQ-inclusive author even on other projects, especially when they’re as charming as this one.

Madame Martine is a routine-bound elderly woman living in Paris. One day, she takes in a stray dog who refuses to live by her structured ways. When he breaks free of his leash and runs up the Eiffel Tower, she learns how much she had been missing in her rigid life. The two then begin to try something new every week.

Kirkus Reviews calls it “enchanting,” and I can’t disagree. It’s a wonderful story of how friends — including animal friends — can help us to expand our horizons and change ourselves for the better. Brannen’s lovely watercolor illustrations give us a view of Paris distinctly different from that in Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline, yet still captivating.

And if you have children in the picture-book age range and have not yet read Brannen’s Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, I encourage you to do so. It’s the story of Chloe, an anthropomorphic young guinea pig who worries that her Uncle Bobby won’t keep having fun with her after he marries his boyfriend. The fact that Uncle Bobby is marrying another male is a complete non-issue. Instead, the book focuses on concerns almost any child might have about family relationships and change. See my full 2008 review and interview with Brannen for more.

Also of possible interest to readers might be The Very Beary Tooth Fairy, which Brannen illustrated for author Arthur Levine, an actual gay dad best known for being the U.S. editor of the Harry Potter series. It doesn’t have any clearly LGBTQ characters, but does contain a hidden gay surprise. Learn what it is here.

Congratulations to Brannen on the publication of her latest book!

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