Jacob’s School Play: Starring He, She, and They

Magination. May 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781433836770.
K-Gr 2–From the creators of Jacob’s New Dress and Jacob’s Room To Choose comes a book in which Jacob experiences confusion about his nonbinary classmate, Ari. Although Ari is the centerpiece of the cover illustration, within the book, they serve only to guide Jacob, the star of the series, to his ultimate understanding. The class is preparing for an upcoming school play. When Ari is misgendered by Jacob, Ari corrects him, but Jacob needs his teacher, Ms. Reeves, to address his arguments against using the pronoun “they”: “They is for two kids.” She models thoughtful explanations for adult and child readers. When Jacob forgets his line in the play, he comes to a spontaneous realization that he’s glad there is room in his class for everyone to be themselves. Case’s joyful illustrations portray a colorful classroom filled with a students from diverse backgrounds, in scenes filled with energy and laughter. Ms. Reeves, Ari, and Jacob are white.
VERDICT In collections where Jacob’s other stories do well, this is a worthwhile inclusion, but for a more precise and centered discussion of pronouns and gender identity, consider It Feels Good To Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity.

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