Benny’s True Colors

Imprint. Nov. 2020. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250207715.
K-Gr 2–Benny, with his furry brown body, wings, and pointy ears, looks like the other brown bats but doesn’t feel like them. He doesn’t like to eat bugs, and he prefers lying in the warm sunshine by day and sleeping at night while his mother goes out to do bat things. Benny knows he really is a butterfly and is meant to have colorful wings. Frustrated with how he can’t get his wings to flutter instead of flap, how he can’t land upright, and how his inside does not match his outside, he has an idea. Of course, this is a metaphor for gender transition, as Benny gets some caterpillars to help make him a cocoon that will allow him to transform. Passchier’s digital art style of bold shapes and colors with balanced compositions will appeal to a young readership who will delight in seeing Benny get his antennas and beautiful butterfly wings.
VERDICT Though this could be read just as a story of a bat wanting to be a butterfly, it’s also a gender-affirming conversation starter that should be supported by books with human characters such as Kyle Lukoff’s When Aidan Became a Brother or Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings’s I Am Jazz.

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