I was reflecting yesterday while reading some library books to Isaac that a lot of the books, series chapter or picture books, that we have read lately have girl characters. Typically, girls are more willing to read books with characters of either gender, while boys want books about boys. This is more true as they get older than when they are Isaac's age. I think, then, they do reach a point where they appreciate the story regardless of the character's gender as they mature as readers. But there is definitely a stage where books are "girl books" if the main character is a girl and there is no convincing them otherwise.
Isaac has not reached that stage yet. But I do make an effort to find books with strong male characters. Books about boys that he will find funny or relate to in some other way. That is why I am glad that Megan McDonald has a companion series to Judy Moody about her brother Stink. (I think his name is actually James, but Stink is much more appealing, at least to a boy.)
Stink is in second grade, so the series is geared toward a slightly younger child and still developing reader than the Judy Moody series. Judy Moody shows up in the Stink books, and vice versa, so kids enjoy going back and forth to find out more about the characters. I like Stink as a literary role model for young boys - he is funny, smart, not always well-behaved, but not obnoxious either.
We started reading Stink books before Judy Moody and Isaac is enjoying them both. We managed to read an entire book while waiting in the airport on our way home from vacation a few weeks ago. Amid the noise and the many distractions, Isaac was glued to my side so he could hear the story. The library and the used book store did not have any Stink books available when we returned home, but we are keeping our eyes open for more.