Ewert, Marcus (Author) and Ray, Rex (Illustrator). (2008). 10,000 Dresses. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.
With its bold, visually-appealing illustrations and playful text color and placement, 10,000 Dresses will delight fans of picture books. The content and tone will impress social justice-minded adults and comfort gender creative children. While Bailey, the transgender protagonist, does not find acceptance or understanding from her family, she does discover a supportive ally and forms a trusting and cooperative friendship.
This book is ideal for children of all genders who are exploring gender roles, accepted dress, and behavior and questioning the stereotypes—or for those who accept those stereotypes without question and might benefit from an alternative view. Bailey is ambitious, creative, and does not give up. Her family’s intolerance for her desire to wear dresses despite her strong statements about her gender are sad, but not dwelled on. Instead, Bailey moves on to the next person until she finally finds somebody who listens to her needs, is willing to help, and can use some help herself.
The art is simply gorgeous, and really shows Bailey’s creative dreams. The lines are bold, the colors bright, and astute viewers will find something new and interesting to look at every time this book is opened. There is rather a lot of text per page, but it is large and easy to read. This is a vocabulary-builder, for sure, but there is enough repetition that nervous readers will find familiar words and gain confidence with help from an adult or accomplished peer.