The Big Day by Rachel Plummer

The Big Day – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: A fairy-tale twist on love.
Children’s book title: The Big Day.
Children’s author: Rachel Plummer.
Children’s illustrator: Forrest Burdett.
Genre: Picture book.
Published by: Little Tiger.
ISBN: 9781838915384.
Recommended for children aged: 3-6 year-olds.
First published: Hardback June 2024.
This children’s book is ideal for: showing children that relationships come in all shapes and sizes.

The Big Day by Rachel Plummer

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Our review:

This is an engaging and interesting take on providing more inclusive texts on relationships for young children. There are interactive features throughout – flaps and pull-out pages and even a giant heart carved into the back cover, ensuring both guaranteed engagement with the harder-to-reach and a very clear message being conveyed to the reader.

It is not just the format that is unusual, the context of the wedding being set amidst a fairy tale cast is also of interest. It enables the author to not just promote different relationships through the marriage of two male giants but also to explore broader themes of inclusivity through the unusual cast of wedding guests such as Giant Aunt Clara, or even the fact that the boy attends the wedding alone. KS1 children could perhaps meet this title when looking at families and relationships, as simply part of a wider collection, extending their comprehension of what a relationship looks like. Whilst Y3 and Y4 pupils might meet this text in PSHE lessons as a means of discussing the broader themes raised: that love comes in all shapes and sizes, that each and every person is unique, and that everyone matters.

The Big Day by Rachel Plummer spread 1

The Big Day could be used to support English units, especially given the unusual fairy tale links. The story hints at and characteristically defies many fairy tale expectations: the boy leaves his mum and travels alone (but safely!) to the wedding, no children are served on the wedding menu, the giants are preoccupied with love, not rage, and it would be a useful source of ideas for year groups looking at writing their own alternative take on a fairy tale. It could also link to a wider discussion about the stereotypes that fairy tales have given us and how we can avoid these.

Another option, using this text as a starting point, would be to explore the wedding menu – for which there is a whole pull-out feature. This could support instruction recipe writing with Y1-Y3 and really encourage pupils to use their imaginations in the menu items they create.

The Big Day by Rachel Plummer spread 2

Finally, there is a lovely moment when the grooms come together providing each other with unusual gifts – ‘the morning dew’ and ‘sky that bright stars wandered through’. This is a play on the tradition of ‘something old, something new’, which could be an interesting discussion with pupils, however, it also offers a moment of reflection on the purpose of gifts and what we can offer each other which may cost nothing but provides a moment shared. The Big Day would make a lovely starting point for some thought-provoking poetry, and as the whole text rhymes, sometimes more successfully than others, this would also be a useful point of discussion – considering with pupils when rhyme is effective and when it might not be needed.

Overall, The Big Day certainly has a place in collections for younger readers. There are now several competing titles with male couples getting married. Perhaps the next step for children’s publishing is to ensure there is similar representation for female couples, or indeed those who choose not to marry at all.

Our verdict:

Aimed at an audience of 3-6-year-olds, The Big Day would be a useful addition to classroom collections to promote inclusivity of all relationships. It could also be used as a discussion support text in PSHE.

Many thanks to Little Tiger for the review copy.

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If you like The Big Day by Rachel Plummer you might also like: Julian At The Wedding by Jessica Love, The Un-Wedding by Babette Cole, Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah Brannen, Katie Morag and the Wedding by Mairi Hedderwick, When Willy Went to the Wedding by Judith Kerr and Maisie Middleton at the Wedding by Nita Sowter.

Browse our kindness and love reading list.

About Anna Rushall

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A passionate advocate for English, having taught all year groups across the primary phase and led English for much of the last twenty years, Anna is now using her lifelong enthusiasm for literature to support schools with their English provision on a consultancy basis. LinkedIn | Twitter/X | Reviews by Anna Rushall