I received the following comment, with a question from a young fan:
“I gave another of your books to my dear little friends Little Judy and her little brother Jack. When judy saw the book she said, oh we have others of those! And then she started reading to her brother. And I asked afterwards if she thought the artist was a boy or a girl and she thinks it’s a girl and I don’t think that it’s clear. But she showed me a picture that looks like somebody with longer hair than most boys wear their hair so we’re asking you to answer the question!”
My Answer (off the record, since whenever I ask this question at a school reading, the answer is consistently 50-50… The girls think it’s a girl, and the boys think it’s a boy…)
Here my answer for Little Judy:
She is correct, the hair is a little long, but at the time both boys & girls wore their hair at that length. And I almost didn’t use that illustration. But since the entire point of the book is seeing art from one’s own perspective, I am delighted whenever there is a discussion. For the record, I always thot he was a boy… ps. Off the record!
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”… (to use a famous quote…)
(Also, sometimes, the “Emperor’s New Clothes” approach to art… )