Well, how fortuitous! Just this morning, I was reading and sharing an article on PBS.org, Rebecca Sugar, Cartoon Network’s first female creator, on writing LGBTQ stories for kids, and lo and behold! my copy of The Answer, arrived. ^_^
The Answer is a hardcover children’s storybook, based on episode 22 of the second season of the Cartoon Network breakout hit, Steven Universe. The episode deals with the origin of Garnet, in which a powerful Sapphire and a common Ruby change fate to be together.
In the episode and the book, we are introduced to the Gems of Homeworld who are bent upon taking over Earth, opposed only by the Crystal Gems led by Rose Quartz. A Sapphire with foresight knows everything that will happen, including her own fate, but the rash behavior of one of her Ruby guards changes…everything.
The cartoon episode is absolutely grin-making, with a catchy little ditty sung by the two gems as they ponder their combined fate. I wondered how they would adapt that into a book?
They did a teriffic job. The illustations by Tiffany Ford and Elle Michalka, are swell, without trying to be the same as in the cartoon. But what really makes the book work is the border in which Ruby and Sapphire carry on a meta-textual conversation.
The story, written by and adapted for this book by Rebecca Sugar, is everything good and right with Steven Universe. Ruby and Sapphire confront being different, acknowledge what and who they are and learn to accept it with Rose Quartz’s help. This is an epic, colorful coming out story about two queer characters in brightly colored pictures with loving and accepting language, drawn and written especially for queer kids.
I hope I don’t have to tell you what to do now, do I? Get this book for yourself and a second copy for your local library. Tell the library this is a children’s book from a very popular TV cartoon. Tell friends with kids about it and lend your copy to them. Give it as gifts to child relatives and friends. Suggest this thing until people roll their eyes, because this book is a game-changer.
Art – 9
Story – 9
LGBTQ – 10
Overall – 10
I cannot imagine what my life might have been like if Steven Universe was in existence when I was young, but I like to think it wouldn’t be all that much different than it is now. The important thing is for the next geeky, queer kid who comes down the pike will have a book like this to read. How awesome for them. ^_^
Also, I think I want a poster of the cover. (*_*)