Picks and Pans Review: X

updated 09/08/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/08/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

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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