The Big Gay Alphabet Coloring Book (Reach and Teach)
“this coloring book falls flat.”
The Big Gay Alphabet Coloring Book is a mixed bag of fabulous and confusing. Though the authors briefly introduce the coloring book, they don’t explain throughout the pages why each image was chosen for each letter.
Starting with A, which stands for “astrology,” can someone explain why astrology has a connection with homosexuality? The same goes for I, for “ice cream,” and basically all the letters in the alphabet.
Some of the illustrations make sense, like C for “city hall” in which there’s an illustration of a lesbian couple getting married, or R for “rainbow” which has long been the symbol for gay pride.
While author Jacinta Bunnell and illustrator Leela Corman attempt to encourage a greater understanding and acceptance of all those who fit in the GLBTQ acronym, and then some, they fall short, missing the opportunity to give a sentence or two with each illustration the association they made in their minds.
While Ms. Bunnell and Ms. Corman pander to stereotypes with a tongue-in-cheek artistic flair, they do not dispel myths, and only create further confusion. It is possible someone who is well-versed in queer theory, has a solid grasp of the cultural and historical moments in gay history would understand the meaning behind N for “narwhal,” but for the average person, open-minded or not, ally or not, is not going to understand this connection. Being gay or otherwise listed in the GBLTQIAA acronym does not automatically confer understanding of the associations.
With regards to the coloring book as a coloring book, the illustrations are campy, most likely on purpose, but leave a lot to be desired in detail and illustrative strength. This might be an amusing gag gift for someone who understands the associations or a basic coloring book for a child—there is not too much detail—but overall, the book misses the mark, which is a shame.
With the current trend for adult coloring books, this was a golden opportunity to encourage and promote understanding and acceptance through art and fun, but instead this coloring book falls flat.