cover image Molly’s Tuxedo

Molly’s Tuxedo

Vicki Johnson, illus. by Gillian Reid. Little Bee, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4998-1314-2

As Molly, portrayed with pink skin and red hair, heads into her first picture day as a kindergartner, she wants an “update” for the family photo wall. But the child knows that “dresses were trouble,” and is horrified when her mother picks one “with a weird, annoying collar” and “fluffy, puffy parts.” Instead, she wants to wear her brother’s old tuxedo: “Dashing. Comfortable. Plenty of pockets,” Johnson writes. Reid’s scribbly art style shows Molly experiencing her mom’s and others’ expectations (“I didn’t think girls could wear tuxedos,” a classmate says), her racially diverse friend group’s support, and her relieved reaction to her parent’s sudden change of heart: “You decide what you want to wear, okay?” Starring a protagonist facing outward pressure to conform to binary gender norms, this picture book about self-expression foregrounds the self-knowledge involved in feeling one’s best and looking “like you.” Ages 4–8. (June)