Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Un-Wedding by Babette Cole

This book is about 2 children, Demetrius and Paula Ogglebutt. Their parents do not get along at all. They used to get along and they used to be pretty people but because they had ugly thoughts about each other they became ugly. They would play tricks on each other and the children thought their behavior was because of them. Demetrius and Paula decide to ask if anyone else has parents like they do and they make a sign for anyone with problem parents. They find that a lot of students have the same issue and they all come to a group consensus that the parents' actions are clearly not their fault. Then, they decide the best thing for their parents is to not be married any more so they decide to "un-marry" them and the parents agree it is a great idea. The un-wedding is complete with an un-wedding cake and separate un-honeymoons. At the end the family takes down the big house they used to live in and they build 2 separate houses with a tunnel connecting them so Demetrius and Paula and go back and forth.

I thought this was a really great story about a topic that is hard for a lot of adults to talk about with children. The illustrations in this book did a really good job of depicting the children's emotions in various situations. When the parents are playing mean tricks on each other, for example, the children's faces look scared and nervous. When it discusses them feeling that their parents' behavior was because of them, their faces seem very sad. I also thought it was great that the book talked about the students talking about it in school and finding other students who were having the same problems with their parents. I think a lot of children feel like they can't talk about it in school because they feel like they are the only ones going through this type of situation but that is obviously not the case so it is important to show children that it is alright to talk about it. I did notice that in the book the family was a wealthy, white family. Their house that they had was very large and extravagant and when they tore down the old house to build two separate houses those houses were pretty extravagant as well. The idea that a family would actually be able to have a separate "honeymoon" for each parent and that they would take down a house and build two separate ones is pretty extreme and I doubt a lot of children could relate to that situation but I think that it makes the story fun. It is a pretty serious topic but it makes it fun and humorous for children and takes some pressure off the topic for a little while.


  1. I would be very careful about using this book, for some kids they could be afraid that this might happen to their parnets. On the other hand a lot of kids go through the hardship of divorce, and are often caught in the middle. I'm curious to know how you would approach using this book in a classroom, the context seems to be very brutal as far as the parents' fights.

  2. I read this controversial book as well. I did not think about children who's parents are not divorced being scared that it might happen to them. I agree that this book is tricky in that I do not know if or how to use it in my classroom.