If you didn’t know by now that boys sometimes wear skirts, this picture book will explain that again.
Felix likes wearing skirts. After all, “I can run faster and climb more easily.” But not everyone is comfortable with his choice. The plot is so well-worn that it hardly warrants description: First he wants to wear skirts, then people are mean to him. The plodding, artless text follows Felix as he goes from victimization to grudging acceptance. “Real boys don’t wear dresses. Why don’t you go play with someone else…,” say his classmates. And “ ‘That’s inappropriate,’ the other parents whispered to each other. ‘What kind of parent allows his child to do something like that?’ ” Then his dad decides to wear a skirt, too, and Felix feels better about going back to school. The story concludes with “From that day on no one asked if he was a boy or a girl. They simply called him Felix,” an apparent (and misguided) attempt at supporting a boy who seems clear enough about his gender identity. The art is strangely retro, depicting very little outside of characters’ expressions of joy, sadness, or discomfort, and the text doesn’t utilize structure or pacing to lend interest or artistry to the story. Felix is a white boy, as are most of the other people depicted, though one classmate wears hijab.
A heavy-handed, already-dated attempt to explain a well-documented experience. (Picture book. 3-6)