Our Big Day

Our Big Day

Written by Bob Johnston, Illustrated by Michael Emberley

A fun and engaging picture book and a heart-warming celebration of love, family, weddings and marriage equality.


Children's Book of the Year (Junior) - 2022

Irish Book Awards - Winner

Hardback: €14.99
Hardback: 32 pages
Size:260x215 mm
ISBN: 9781788493147

Uncle David and Simon are going to get married! There’s lots to do, from making the invitations to arranging the decorations, but when the wedding rings go missing just before the ceremony, Bear the dog has to use all of his special skills to help save the day!

A fun and engaging picture book and a heart-warming celebration of love, family, weddings and marriage equality.

Bob Johnston

Bob Johnston is the owner of The Gutter Bookshop in Dublin, Ireland. He lives in a small cottage by the sea with his husband Leon, a big black dog called Sasha and a cat called Molly. Originally from England, he moved to Ireland in 2000 and actively campaigned in the Irish Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015 and married his husband in 2016.

Michael Emberley

Originally from Boston, Michael Emberley has lived in Ireland for 15 years. After writing and illustrating in the US for over 40 years, this is his debut Irish children’s book.

Recent titles include The Message: The Extraordinary Journey of an Ordinary Text Message, I Did It! and I Can Make a Train Noise with Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick.

He lives in an old stone horse stable in County Meath.

reads like a modern classic … simple and effective storytelling. The language is warm and feels familiar … equally comforting are Michael Emberley’s sketchy illustrations, which tenderly portray love and affection … of equal merit is the diverse host of characters featured in the story and the humour woven throughout the text. Our Big Day celebrates an Ireland to which I feel proud to belong 

Inis Magazine

the book is beautiful, important, and you should buy one

Rick O'Shea

I would give it 11/10 stars

Seomra Ranga

a charming little tale that celebrates same sex marriage with kaleidoscopic illustrations. Uncle David and Simon are getting married, but when the best laid plans go awry, thank goodness there’s a dog called Bear to save the day. This book is a wonderful token that commemorates when Ireland became the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage by popular vote. It is a rarity to find children’s books that are inclusive and represent the LGBTQIA+ community, which is why this sweet story is a breath of fresh air. It is paramount that children from an early age understand that everyone’s love, regardless of sexuality or gender, should be accepted and respected by all. This book normalises same sex marriage which is a great place to start to extinguish prejudices that are unfortunately still pervasive. A perfect bedtime read. Recommended for ages three years and up

Irish Examiner


Irish Daily Mail

A gorgeously illustrated book about love, equality, and a very large dog

Irish Examiner

The story's gentle language and exploration of everyday life are reminiscent of Shirley Hughes. It's fantastic how it encourages little readers to be who they like and love who they want - a message that was sorely lacking not only in children's literature but in society as a whole when I was growing up. It's diverse and inclusive with different ethnicities represented as well as the LGBTQ community. Bear is an excellent character who is certain to win the hearts of all readers, even 'cat people' like ourselves … It's vital that all children are aware from a young age that there is no uniform way to be or to love. How else can they grow into teens and adults who either feel accepted or are tolerant of others? It's also essential for children of same-sex couples to see their own families reflected in the books they're reading. It's wonderful to have children's books that help normalise and make the LGBTQ community visible and Our Big Day introduces an important subject in a subtle and thoroughly entertaining way. I'd love to see more books about David and Simon and characters like them, and of course, the further adventures of Bear!

Picture Book Snob

such a joyful book

Sarah Webb on Newstalk's Pat Kenny

the illustrations sing with colour and emotion … a joyful book

Irish Independent

such a joyful book

Sarah Webb on Newstalk's Pat Kenny Show

a celebration of love, of family and of a commitment to marriage equality

Children's Books Ireland

Johnston’s well-paced story makes room for an especially memorable character, Bear, who, in Michael Emberley’s joyous illustrations, seems to leap off every page, full of canine mischief, and, eventually, an especially hirsute kind of heroism. In the wedding and the party scenes on the final pages, meanwhile, Emberley gives us a wonderful celebration of diversity. Our Big Day is a perfect accompaniment to a summer wedding, same-sex or otherwise

Irish Times

Emberley’s lively illustrations make the story come alive

Irish Independent

A happy celebration of love with hugely expressive illustrations, this book recently won Children’s Book of the Year (junior) at the Irish Book Awards, and it is a gem

Irish Examiner

Our Big Day by Bob Johnston reads like a movie with glorious illustrations by Michael Emberley… The visual language of vivid colour, great use of white space and layout would be appreciated by any class due to their digital nativeness and fluency in visual communications. Aside from the sumptuousness of the book, it tells an important story of love, new marriage laws, a community supporting love and being together to celebrate the union of two humans who want to commit to one another … A stunning book with words of heart and hope, it’s ideal for SPHE, art, and many re-reads - Michelle Moloney King, Co Tipperary.


a very funny, uplifting book

Irish Examiner
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