You’ve heard the old adage “the clothes don’t make the bunny,” right? Well, it takes some time for Ogilvy and Ogilvy’s new friends to figure this out.
When Ogilvy arrives in a new town, the bunny is excited to see so many other bunnies having fun in the park. They’re drawing, playing ball, knitting, and climbing hills.
But when Ogilvy enters the park, they all stop and stare .
“A bunny bounced over. “What IS that you’re wearing?”
Ogilvy paused and looked down at the clothes.
“I’m wearing the thing that I wear, I suppose.”
But the bunny isn’t satisfied with Ogilvy’s answer.
They demand to know just what, exactly, is Ogilvy wearing. Bunnies in sweaters make art and climb rocks. Bunnies in dresses play ball and knit socks.
Clever Ogilvy decides to switch the name of the day’s apparel, depending on the activity. But this daily flip-flopping wears thin, and the other bunnies push Ogilvy to put a stake in the ground.
“Look here,” said a bunny, “your garment keeps changing. We cannot have bunnies who keep rearranging. So it can be either, but please! Make the call! A sweater? A dress? Tell us once and for all!”
When pressed, Ogilvy gets miffed that any bunny has to decide something “once and for all.” And makes an impassioned plea to the group. Aren’t there any others among them who want to play outside their clothing group? Ogilvy’s logic strikes a chord.
“It really is silly for clothes to divide us. Let’s do all the things that till now were denied us!”
Some even start wearing sweater-dresses like Ogilvy.
And when a new bunny arrives, wearing a bow between its ears, the bunnies pause for a moment before heartily welcoming the newcomer.
Kudos to Deborah Underwood for writing a manuscript that eliminates gender identification for all of the characters. (And in rhyme, no less!) It’s so tough to do. I struggled to write this review without using gender-specific pronouns. A perfect book to talk about being who you are, whatever that might look like, and accepting others as they are, as well.
I love the end papers, featuring rows of “Ogilvy” clothing. And under the book jacket, the board shows a close-up of the knitted pattern of the Ogilvy sweater-dresses. Nice details!
Pair with other books like BORN BAD by C.K. Smouha, and RED: A CRAYON’S STORY by Michael Hall.
Make a list of activities, jobs, clothing, toys that are often associated with gender. Talk about how TV, movies, magazine ads reinforce these stereotypes.
Creating an inclusive environment: GenderSpectrum
Author: Deborah Underwood
Illustrator: T.L. McBeth
Publisher: Henry Holt, 2019
THEMES: gender fluidity, norms, individuality
AGES: Preschool – 2nd grade
For more perfect picture book recommendations, visit Susanna Hill’s website.