may_lily: (in a world of my own)
may_lily ([personal profile] may_lily) wrote2013-12-31 09:45 am

John Dough and the Cherub

From my tumblr.

Those who are looking for non-binary characters in children’s books might be interested in L. Frank Baum’s John Dough and the Cherub, published in 1906. The titular John Dough is a human-sized gingerbread man brought to life, and the Cherub is his child companion Chick. Chick’s gender is never stated. The author uses the pronoun ‘it’ where necessary, but avoids pronoun use as much as possible.

Chick is not a literal angel - ‘cherub’ refers to their beautiful, angelic appearance. Brave and eternally cheerful, they accompany John Dough on his travels and protect him from the people who want to eat him. Chick’s gender ambiguity is never portrayed as odd. They and John Dough reappear in Return to Oz, as guests at Princess Ozma’s birthday party.