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"What's Happening to Me?" A Guide to Puberty Paperback – August 1, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Mayle spent fifteen years in the advertising business before escaping in 1975 to write books, including his bestselling "A Year in Provence "and "Toujours Provence". His work has been translated into seventeen languages and he has contributed to a variety of newspapers and magazines. He lives with his wife in Provence.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Lyle Stuart (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0818403128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0818403125
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Susan Lyon on November 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this book last night with my almost 11-year-old son. I felt we needed to cover the basics before the fifth grade covered it later in the school year. We'd read Mayle's Where Did I Come From a few weeks ago and he and his third-grade brother cracked up all through that. This time I caught him alone, let him stay up late with me and it was a great mom-son start. I read it out loud and we editorialized (we're a pretty liberal family but there's still parent editorializing to be done on this subject for everyone). When I got to the girl questions, I asked if I should read those or skip them and he said "read them, I guess" so I think my timing was right and the material was accessible to him. I've got my husband primed to jump in as well but I think two parents and the book all at once would have felt like an FBI raid. Good coverage of the subject, not too scary. I do think there's an unmet market need for a book for the 12-15 crowd, this book is too young for that age and most of the other books I've found are too old.
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I bought this for my 10-year-old daughter on the recommendation of her pediatrician who said it is good to provide books that address the development of girls and boys. However, after reading it, I am sending it back for a few reasons. I'll name two. Firstly, it ties development too closely to certain ages. It has a chart with stages of development that shows that girls who are 8 - 10 have not started developing. My daughter started developing when she was 8 and seeing this chart is likely to make her feel more uncomfortable about developing early. The text mentions that changes can happen earlier or later but the chart speaks loudly for itself. Secondly, the discussion of breast development, addressed to girls, indicates, "...breasts help you look pretty good. Boys and men like them a lot, and quite right too." I am confident that my daughter, who has no interest in boys at the moment, would be horrified to hear that boys like her breasts a lot. And my daughter's breasts are just that, her breasts - not objects to provide pleasure to the boys and men around her. And couldn't the male author have found a female physician to weigh in on menstruation instead of Dr. Earl Cooperman who advises girls to "accept the discomforts of menses (the period) as a small inconvenient fact of life"? I'd like my daughter to develop opinions about her body outside the influence of how boys and men think about it. So, I worry that this book is likely to create rather than alleviate anxiety in my daughter about her developing body. I also feel that, as indicated above, it sometimes provides an outdated male-centric perspective on the female body.
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Format: Paperback
I purchased What's Happening to Me in the early 80's and used it to help me talk to my daughters about puberty as they reached the appropriate age. I recently pulled it out to give it to my son who is now 11. My daughters 22, 18, and 16 were quickly reminded of the days when I introduced them to the book. They all wanted to read it again! What's Happening to Me helped to make what could have been a frightening experience, one of understanding and acceptance - without embarrassment.
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Format: Paperback
I was surprised to find anyone giving this book a less than glowing review. I remember loving it as a kid and that my friends all loved it, too.
Sure, we already knew a lot of the stuff in it, but both the writing and illustrations in this book are so charming and fun, that only the extremely jaded or repressed could possibly fail to enjoy it.
Of course I plan to get a copy for my own child, even though I haven't quite had my baby yet. I just look forward so much to revisiting this wonderful book that I can't wait until my kid is the right age for it (which I would say is about 10 or 11 years old).
Don't pay any attention to the sour pusses who gave this terrific book low marks; go to your library and see for yourself. I'm sure you'll agree that What's Happening to Me? should be in every kid's collection.
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Format: Paperback
A very gentle, caring book for children of about age 8, who can expect to start going through puberty. Covers issues of: why puberty happens, how the appearance of bodies change, hormones, breast development, erections, menstruation, deepening of voice, pimples, masturbation, body hair, wet dreams, and circumcision. This book follows on from, and is in the same style as "Where Did I Come From?". Extremely popular, all children should have easy access to this volume from age 8 onwards.
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Format: Paperback
My parents read both this book and "Where did I come from?" to me when they were first published in the mid-seventies (I was born in 1970). I don't remember feeling awkward or embarrassed about the books. I was at an age where everything was pre-sexual. I had no social hang-ups about my body parts. I remember very clearly starting elementary school about this time and I was able to understand what all the innuendos were about. Yes, sexual innuendos by many other children that couldn't have been older than nine. I remember other kids laughing at the girl who really believed that children came from the cabbage patch! I remember one of my friends crying and running to her mother when she caught our friend Kenny using the toilet while standing up. She though he had a horrible tumor.

I never had any confusion about how the sexual process worked. I grew up with a healthy respect for abstinence and a deep understanding of what can really happen when one has intercourse early. I knew that one day I would have a menstrual cycle all my own and that it wasn't really "a curse that women have to bear because they are they weaker vessel" as was said around my town.

I remember the illustrations being fun and colorful. Language is used that is respectful, but not overtly sexual or enticing. They're probably a little dated by now.

Just now I was looking for these books so I can buy them to read to my 2 ½ year old son. He already is able to understand the basic differences between men and women. He has a penis (he tells me) and Momma doesn't. Momma has a vagina (although his pronunciation is a little shaky) and that's where babies come out.
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