Rose and Dorothy, by Roslyn Schwartz (better known for her “Mole Sisters” books), tells of a mouse and an elephant who are taken by one another: “Dorothy was larger than life to Rose and twice as charming.” Dorothy moves into Rose’s house. Dorothy is big in every way, loud, open-hearted, flamboyant. Rose is more restrained. Things fall apart when they find themselves irritated on the domestic front and Dorothy moves out. Both are miserable. The happy ending? Dorothy buys the house next door to Rose and they are “friends for life.” Together apart. Nobody is going to catalogue this picture book as “Lesbians – Fiction,” but it represents a kind of narrative that I wish we had more of, the full range of human joy and sorrow and our capacity for creative relationships against an unselfconscious backdrop of female intimacy. I came across this book when I was forty. I wish it had been around when I was four.
Sarah Ellis has been writing for and about children and young adults since she saw the light about thirty years ago. Her twenty books include picture books, short stories, non-fiction and a couple of books about writing. The latest book, out this fall, is Ben Says Goodbye, illustrated by Kim LaFave (from Pajama Press).