Jacob’s School Play: Starring He, She, and They

Ian and Sarah Hoffman, illus. by Chris Case. Magination, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4338-3677-0

Following Jacob’s Room to Choose, this third book starring Jacob finds the blond child crafting costumes for the school play. When Jacob finds out that Ari, a pale, freckled classmate with a beehive of red hair, gets to play “the cloud, the rain, [and] the pond,” he also learns that Ari’s pronouns are they and them. Jacob is confused: “The water in the play was three things. Was that why Ari was they, instead of he or she?” But Ms. Reeves has a matter-of-fact explanation—“From the outside, we can’t see who anybody is on the inside.... So we have to trust them when they tell us”—and the play soon lends further clarity. Case illustrates expressive comic strip–style characters in washes of color. While Ari’s identity is presented from another child’s perspective, the school play metaphor is gentle and effective in showing one child eventually comprehending a classmate’s nonbinary identity. Ages 4–8. [em](May) [/em]
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