From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–Harris opens by introducing two cartoon characters–a green-feathered bird clad in a purple shirt and blue high-top sneakers and his spike-haired friend, a bee. They wonder, So where DO babies come from? Their conversational commentary, given in word balloons, is a lighthearted supplement to a more focused narrative. Told in the second person, the text is straightforward, informative, and personable. Facts are presented step-by-step, starting from the similarities and differences between boys and girls bodies, moving to a babys conception, growth in the womb, and birth, ending with an exploration of different configurations of families as well as a section on okay versus not okay touches. The book is logically organized into 23 double-page sections. Friendly and relaxed cartoons, either interspersed with the text or appearing in comic-strip form, are integral to the titles success in imparting the material. The labeled drawings show both the outside and the inside parts of the body. As the bee and bird say to one another, Knowing the names of ALL the parts of your body is–PERFECTLY NORMAL! Overall, this book will be accessible to its intended audience, comforting in its clarity and directness, and useful to a wide range of readers.–Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI
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*Starred Review* K-Gr. 3. Harris and Emberley's It's Perfectly Normal
(1994) and It's So Amazing
(1999), sex-ed books for pubescent and prepubescent readers, respectively, are among today's most frequently challenged titles. Their newest targets kids closer to potty training than puberty, but like its predecessors, it will undoubtedly raise as many hackles as it attracts words of praise. Some controversial elements in the previous books have been toned down or left out here; there are no images of unclothed adults or references to masturbation, abortion, and birth control. But what remains will still widen many eyes: pictures of nude children with body parts exhaustively labeled; text about the "kind of loving [that] happens when . . . the man's penis goes inside the woman's vagina" that candidly expresses what the accompanying under-the-blankets visual leaves to the imagination. Emberley's affectionate, mood-lightening cartoons keep things approachable, while Harris' respectful writing targets children's natural curiosity without cloaking matters in obfuscating language. Based on its length and detail, the book's advertised intent to reach children as young as four seems optimistic. All the same, this will smoothly adapt to the needs of individual families, who will want to choose among the three options based less on assigned age ranges than on personal comfort levels with the topics addressed. For another forthright but less-comprehensive book, suggest Dori Hillestad Butler's My Mom's Having a Baby!
(2005). Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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