Max’s friend Stephen is great at many things. But more than anything else, Stephen can tell a story. His stories have the ability to change listeners’ initial impressions of people and situations. When Stephen signs up for the school’s talent show, Max signs up to be his assistant. After selecting that just-right dress and those just-right shoes for the show, the moment arrives. Stephen steps onto the stage. The lights shine brightly in his face. He looks out into the crowd knowing he has prepared everything, except the one thing that matters—his performance. What will Max, standing in the wings, do to help his friend?
K-Gr 2–In this second book featuring Max, a white transgender boy, the spotlight shines on his black male friend, Steven, who wears frilly dresses. Imaginative Steven is eager for the upcoming talent show and wants to find the perfect gown, shoes, cape, and tiara. Every encounter with a salesperson requires Steven to spin a fictional story about why he needs the feminine items. Max and Steven’s mom support Steven’s quest for stardom, but Max prefers to stay in the background as his assistant. As in the first book, the text is simple, with short sentences and episodic chapters. Despite its picture book format, this series title is an excellent choice as an early reader with an LGBTQIA+ theme. VERDICT A worthy title for classrooms, libraries, and PFLAG and other support organizations’ collections. (December 06, 2019)
Oakwood City Schools, Dayton, OH