A Costume for Charly

Beaming. Sept. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781506484051.
PreS-Gr 2–Bi-gender Charly is determined to find a Halloween costume that represents their whole identity, showing they’re both a boy and a girl. Their Dracula costume makes their femme side feel erased, and the Little Red Riding Hood costume leaves their masc side in the dust. The only solution? Charly must get creative! They put their snipping and sewing skills to work and create a costume that makes them feel “joyfully jazzed, harmoniously hopeful, and one hundred percent Charly.” Cartoon-style digital illustrations are tinged with blue and purple Halloween hues and feature some whimsical, magical flourishes. When the time comes for the big reveal, Charly’s mostly accepting friends think their costume is wacky but wonderful. Charly’s refreshing confidence in their own gender identity is evident throughout the story, though the implication that a Dracula costume might only be for boys because Dracula was a male vampire may strike some readers as unnecessarily binary. Back matter includes information on bi-gender identity and select LGBTQIA+ resources.
VERDICT Charly’s joyous creativity and persistence will encourage trick-or-readers to think outside of the box this Halloween.

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