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It's Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends (The Family Library) Hardcover – July 25, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. 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 Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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But they really drop the ball with the page that explains how the sperm gets into the woman. They introduce sex as a "special kind of loving" with a picture of a couple in bed having what looks like the most amazingly fun cuddle fest complete with little hearts all over the place (picture attached). There're several problems with this; 1) my 6 year old step daughter is constantly complaining that she shouldn't have to sleep alone and very jealous of the other adults in her life that get to cuddle and enjoy special love without her in their beds. This picture isn't going to help. 2) It's vague and misleading and says that when a man and woman get "close together" the "penis goes inside the woman" which makes it sound like all you have to do is get to close to a man in bed and his penis will just jump inside you. 3) It is a complete after thought really when they say that kids are too young for this "special kind of loving" 4) Doesn't "special kind of loving" sound exactly like the words a predator would use? And wouldn't they say "you're a big girl now, we can have special loving together" . . . (Ugh shuddering).
We are thinking less information would be better at 6 years of age and rather than throw out the baby with the sex page we simply censored the one bad page with a taped on piece of construction paper. It now jumps from a picture of female reproductive organs to the sentence that says "kids are much too young for a special kind of loving called sex. . . during sex the man's penis can release sperm into the woman's vagina." and then the explanation for how babies happens proceeds from there.
The pages on good touch/bad touch are also confusing and don't even begin to address equipping kids to protect themselves from being groomed for sexual abuse or preventing them from being sexually abused. The assumption seems to be that a predator will simply grab a kid and start touching their private parts and that's the only form of sexual abuse. It doesn't address when someone asks you to touch their private parts, show you their private parts or want to see yours. It spends a great deal of time talking about how it is "ok" for a "friend" to hold your hand and hug you and how that touch is ok if you are ok with it. It implies that only an adult might touch you in a bad way (when often it can be a child just a few years older that sexually abuses). It's not the purpose of the book to address this topic exclusively, but maybe they shouldn't have included it at all because it feels like it is a dangerously small amount of information and misleading. I could totally see a kid thinking they know what bad touch is now and a predator convincing them that what they are asking them to do is not bad at all, just something a "friend" does with another "friend".