by Lois Gould
It's noble in sentiment—deploring the sexual stereotyping by which little boys must be rough and tough and little girls shy and delicate. Yet this social tract masquerading as a children's fable, which first appeared in Ms. in 1972, is longer on good intentions than on interest. Gould, the resourceful novelist-essayist who wrote Such Good Friends, couches the tale about a child raised to school age with only its parents knowing its sex in very stilted language. The drawings by Jacqueline Chwast, too, have a thick, often unattractive feel. To expand on one device Gould uses—talking about "Xtra," "Xercises" and "Xperiment" in connection with the child—this little paperback is Xcessive. (Stonesong Press, $4.95)
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