Jacob's New Dress

by Sarah Hoffman

Hardcover, 2014





Albert Whitman & Company (2014), Edition: 1, 32 pages


Jacob, who likes to wear dresses at home, convinces his parents to let him wear a dress to school too.

User reviews

LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
Like my recent review of the elephant and piggie book where elephant is worried that piggie will like her new friend more than him, and the message is that that's a silly thing to worry about but your kid is like "uh, yeah, why even tell us that in the first place" and then starts to wonder if his friends are also gonna like other kids more, this one seems too highly evolved for its own good: Jacob is wearing his dress and Emmett is maybe like "that kid has a nice dress" but more interested in what kinda trucks he's playing with, but then the other mean kid is like "boys can't wear dresses!" and the story is intended to be a heartwarming tale of triumphing over that kind of adversity and being true to yourself but maybe more just has the effect of planting in your two-year-old's mind a great perplexity and even a worm of doubt about whether, in fact, boys can wear dresses where there was no such doubt before. But maybe it's my fault for reading this book to a toddler when it's clearly more for six-year-olds.… (more)
LibraryThing member jgiann2
In my opinion, this was a wonderful book that addresses gender stereotypes among children. The language is descriptive and clear to follow. There is a great use of dialogue to convey meaning. The writing is engaging and organized very well. Some text is written in large blue text boxes so the reader can easily find and read the sentences. One of my favorite aspects of this book is the illustration. The vivid and colorful illustrations really enhance the story and engage the reader. I love the character of Jacob because he is believable and well developed. Jacob enjoys wearing dresses and creates a dress of his own with his mother. However, he receives negatively from his classmates because boys do not typically wear dresses. For example, his classmate Christopher yells, “Jacob, why do you always wear the girl clothes? Put on the knight armor. That’s what the boy wears!” This shows that young children are not yet understanding of gender stereotypes that can be broken. In the end, Jacob learns to be proud of himself and refuses to let rude remarks bother him. This is evident when the Jacob exclaims, “Christopher, I made this dress, I’m proud of it, and I’m going to wear it!” Jacob is relatable to any boy who feels the same way as him. This book can teach children a valuable lesson on accepting people for who they are and the choices they make. The story pushes readers to broaden their perspectives on gender roles in society and how some children do not fit into narrow gender roles. The central message of the story is if you are proud of who you are, you should not let others bring you down. Live the way you want to live and others will respect this.… (more)
LibraryThing member kbarry9
I loved this book, because the little boy was persistent to be comfortable in his own skin and clothing. I also appreciated how the author created a teacher that started out as not understanding, and then by doing a 360. This shows educators about how mindful we need to be for our students, and how we need to be cautious of the things we state. We also need to address bullying, because it is hard to address bullies, however, the main character did a great job at it. I think that also, it is important for students to read this book to understand that no one object is specific to one gender. I will definitely buy this for my classroom.… (more)
LibraryThing member Salsabrarian
Nicely and subtly addresses those moments of discomfort in the family about Jacob's choice to wear a dress, and also illustrates how family members and caregivers can be supportive of a gender-nonconforming child. Honest, child-friendly, and not at all pedantic. Well-done.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Jacob is a young boy with a variety of interests and tastes, amongst which is a fondness for dresses. Despite the teasing of his classmate Christopher, he persists in his desire to be the princess at dress-up time, and asks his mother if he can have a dress to wear to school. After her initial resistance, Jacob's mother helps him make the desired garment, and he proudly wears it to school. When Christopher once again makes himself obnoxious, starting a game of tag between the girls and boys, and telling Jacob he should be on the girls' team, Jacob feels the protective power of his dress, and doesn't let it get him down...

One of a number of recent picture-books meant to offer encouragement and affirmation to gender-fluid children - another recent one would be James Howe's Big Bob, Little Bob - Jacob's New Dress highlights the message that there are all kinds of boys, some of whom will be attracted to the dress and interests that have traditionally been defined by society as feminine, and that that's OK. Co-authors Sarah and Ian Hoffman are the parents of a gender-fluid son themselves, something mentioned in the dust-jacket blurb about them, so I appreciated the way that their own life experience has informed the story they have to tell. I also appreciated the fact that they mention, in their afterword, that gender-fluidity isn't a sure sign of such things as sexual orientation or even eventual gender identity, and that they think young childhood is too early a time to really know those things about any person. That dovetails with my own thinking on the matter, and leaves the issue open, something I think is so important when dealing with the young, who need the safety and space to experiment, without those experiments being read by the adults around them as one thing or another.

Leaving that aside, the story here is fairly engaging, despite the obvious didactic purpose of the authors, and the artwork is colorful and appealing, in a somewhat cartoon-like way. Recommended to anyone looking for stories about gender-fluid children specifically, or about issues of tolerance and bullying in general.
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LibraryThing member Sullywriter
Jacob loves to dress up as the princess during play time at school and is teased for it. Sensitive and reassuring but see Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress for a less didactic treatment of the same subject.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

32 p.; 8 inches


0807563730 / 9780807563731


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