cover image What Riley Wore

What Riley Wore

Elana K. Arnold, illus. by Linda Davick. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7260-9

Riley has an outfit for each day’s experiences. On Monday, the first day of school, the child combats shyness by wearing a bunny costume; for a rainy Friday, it’s rubber boots, a tutu, and a police officer jacket. And for a Sunday trip to the park, Riley throws together an outfit that includes purple jeans, the tutu, and a hat with dinosaur spikes. At the playground, a kid asks Riley, “Are you a girl or a boy?” Arnold (Damsel) doesn’t employ a gendered pronoun for her protagonist, and bright, rounded illustrations by Davick (It’s Not Easy Being Mimi) show Riley in states ranging from pajama clad at school to dressed up in a ball gown for dinner (“Ball gowns are the fanciest”). Riley’s answer at the park is equally and confidently nonbinary—“Today I’m a firefighter. And a dancer. And a monster hunter. And a pilot. And a dinosaur”—and everyone is cool with that. (“Want to play?” the child asks.) By connecting Riley’s gender nonconforming to the costumed role-playing that most kids engage in, the creators take this timely subject matter into a refreshing realm: normalcy. Ages up to 8. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. [em](Aug.) [/em]