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What's Going on Down There?: Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask Paperback – October 1, 1998

135 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-10-The author of The Period Book (Walker, 1996) teams up with two teenage consultants to provide a useful and readable guide to puberty for boys. Written in the voice of a trusted adult, this title deftly covers physical changes, sexual intercourse, peer pressure, and pregnancy and birth. Gravelle reassures readers that there are a lot of different ways to describe normal when discussing puberty, and that each person will experience changes on his own timetable. The book balances information about being a sexual person with that of being a responsible person. While providing detailed and accurate information on genital size, birth-control devices, and sexually transmitted diseases, there is also an emphasis on the psychological changes occurring at the same time. Homosexuality and bisexuality are covered in a frank and open manner. The chapter "Girls Are Changing Too" discusses changes readers can expect to see in their female friends and has detailed illustrations and information not typically presented in books for males. The text is complemented by comic-book style illustrations that serve to lighten the sometimes serious subject matter.
Katie O'Dell Madison, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Aided by two teenagers, Gravelle does for boys what she and her daughter did for girls in The Period Book (1996). As in the first book, the tone here is forthright without being sober or scary. Facts about puberty, sex, and sexually transmitted diseases, and also what happens to girls during puberty are presented clearly and completely, along with answers to an assortment of related questions. The authors also manage to slip in some counsel about wise decision making, though the emphasis is on information, not values. This is similar in scope to Paulette Bourgeois and Martin Wolfish's Changes in You & Me: A Book about Puberty, Mostly in Boys (1994), but it is much more thorough and contains a very detailed chapter on types of birth control, which Bourgeois and Wolfish barely mention. Teens looking for information about homosexuality will probably need to go elsewhere--to one of Thomas Ford's excellent books, perhaps--for a better discussion. Otherwise, this is a fine book, with lots of great cartoon artwork that adds fine comedy without compromising the importance of the subject. Stephanie Zvirin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens; 1 edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802775403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802775405
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

295 of 298 people found the following review helpful By A. Reid VINE VOICE on December 23, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is geared for younger adolescent boys, and it is extremely thorough at educating them about the process of puberty for boys and, to a lesser extent, girls. It frankly discusses every issue of sexuality that I can think of off the top of my head--how it happens, with whom it happens (straight & gay), what it feels like, what can result from it (pregnancy and STDs in detail) and how to have it as safely as possible. It may be more realistic than some books in assuming that the majority of teenagers will be sexually active, and some readers might even feel as though it pushes that perspective. I was particularly struck by the phrasing in one section discussing the way peer pressure can push people into having sex too early. Paraphrasing, it said something to the effect that "Young teenagers may not feel ready." There seems to me a little subtle pressure there for older teenagers, as though they ought to be over that.

I bought the book to read to my 8-year-old, who like many boys these days is maturing more rapidly than his ancestors. He is a little younger than the target audience, but we've always been frank with him about his body and felt that the majority of this book would be well within his grasp. I must give the book great praise for the way it describes maturation. It covers topics that I doubt my husband and I would ever have thought about in terms of the growth and changes in the body and the mind. (Puberty is a fading memory for us at this point.) Any boy who has been exposed to this material should be well-prepared to deal with the surprises that nature throws at him. Further, it arms him with the information he needs about how to ask if he isn't--how to talk to parents, how to talk to doctors.
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250 of 261 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 10, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered several books of this type for my 11 year-old and read them all cover-to-cover. This is the best of the bunch in it's coverage of diverse topics and its practical, non-techinical tone. As a mom, I especially liked the section which throoughly explained the ramifications of an unwanted pregnancy. In contrast, the book "Asking About Sex and Growing Up" dealt with pregnancy via sections such as "Why would a girl let herself get pregnant?" (sometimes a girl secretly wants to get pregnant...) and "What happens when a girl gets pregnant?" (she may be upset for a long time afterward.) This isn't how I want my son to understand his role. "What's Going on Down There" gets my top grade.
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372 of 398 people found the following review helpful By K. Boyett on November 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
I ordered this book along with a similar one for girls for my 10 year old daughter. Her book fit her age perfectly, but this one was too advanced for my son who was 9 at the time. It talks about things that (in my opinion) a 9 or 10 year old shouldn't know about yet. He hasn't been allowed to read it yet because knowing my son as I do, he would use the information in it as gossipy talk amongst his friends and it would be a joke to him. I wanted to introduce them to the changes that will soon be affecting their bodies, but for my son, it went way beyond explaining went into sex, masturbation, homosexual relationships...these things are far too advanced for my son. The book would be excellent for a 12 to 14 year old as it has many funny cartoons and explainations that would make it easier to understand and less secretive and less likely to embarrass. It is a great book, but because of the fact that it said it was for ages 9 and up, I assumed that it wouldn't be quite so detailed and descriptive, and that it would deal more with bodily changes instead of relationships and sex and such as that.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By RZU on September 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my friends son who is 13 years old and before giving it to her I read through it myself. All of the information is very important (12+ years old) and can help educate young boys to make decisions based on knowledge they obtained before there is a problem rather than after, like what I went through when I was growing up and I'm sure countless others have that did not have the benefit and knowledge in this book.

So many people in our world today say "kids don't need to know much about sex until they're adults", with the rise of STD's & un-planned teenage pregnancies it's obvious that kids will do many things behind their parents back including engaging in sex at an early age, so those who have prescribed to this rational really should re-think their position. When it comes to sex, an educated teenager will make a better choice than one who is purposely kept in the dark because of his parents "Fear". If you're a parent and you don't know how to talk to your son about puberty and sex or don't feel comfortable doing it but want to make sure he stays healthy and doesn't ruin his life by becoming a teenage father or worse because of ignorance, then by all means get this book. Read it and then give it to him with love. He'll never forget how much it helped him growing up, trust me.

P.S. I love Amazon and have been using this site for many years but this is the first time I've ever wrote a review. I figure this book is worth it and it's my way of giving back to the community for all of the reviews others have written over the years that have been so very helpful.
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