cover image Except When They Don’t

Except When They Don’t

Laura Gehl, illus. by Joshua Heinsz. Little Bee, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4998-0804-9

There’s no one way to be a person, Gehl and Heinsz suggest in this story about eschewing gender stereotypes. In bubbly art, children are seen first engaging in traditionally gendered activities: “Girls like pom-poms,/ pink, and jewels./ Boys like fighting/ pirate duels.” “Except,” reads the text, “when they don’t.” A boy in a superhero costume is surrounded by the pink-hued trappings of a tea party; elsewhere, a girl with puffy pink pigtails runs with a football. The pronoun “you” is used to convey that readers need not conform at all (“You might play with swords and knights./ Maybe twirl in flowered tights.”). Gehl’s text and Heinsz’s artwork express the joy of individuality and personal choice: “be exactly who you are.” Ages 4–8. [em](May) [/em]