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Where Willy Went by [Allan, Nicholas]
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Where Willy Went Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2–Willy is not good at math but excels at swimming. He and his nemesis, Butch, practice every day for the Great Swimming Race. Finally, armed with goggles, a number, and two maps, he and 300 million other competitors swim madly for the prize–the egg inside Mrs. Browne. Willy is a sperm. All his practicing pays off and he victoriously burrows into the "lovely and soft" egg, which grows and grows in Mrs. Browne's tummy until it becomes a baby girl. But "Where had little Willy gone? Who knows?" However, when little Edna is old enough to start school, she isn't very good at math but she IS very good at swimming. This breezy and amusing romp may not resolve those pesky questions about reproduction but it certainly lends personality to the process of fertilization. The double-entendre title is indicative of the cheeky and humorous text, which is lively, well paced, and essentially accurate. The line and watercolor illustrations perfectly suit the irreverent tone and include a lift-the-flap expanded page and a "find Waldo"-style spread. Both sperm and humans are endearingly expressive. As to the science, an unclothed Mr. and Mrs. Browne are anatomically correct but the racing map of Mrs. Browne's reproductive system is confusingly vague. Nonetheless, adult readers will be thoroughly entertained and children will be charmed if not completely informed. While a relatively innocuous and engaging piece of sex ed, this title could be a potentially provocative addition to picture-book collections.–Carol Ann Wilson, formerly at Westfield Memorial Library, NJ

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 1. Having already published provocative works such as The Queen's Knickers (1993) and Cinderella's Bum (2002) in England, Allan delivers some facts of life (and a lot of smirking silliness) in this picture book about an anthropomorphic sperm cell. Rosy-cheeked Willy is determined to be the first to reach the "lovely and soft" interior of an egg, located in the murkily mapped recesses of Mrs. Browne's abdomen. Where Willy went is clear; how he got there is less so, as Mr and Mrs. Browne's physical union occurs discretely beneath the bedclothes. Children not long from the womb themselves won't glean many biological truths from the whimsical cartoon artwork (Allan's swimmers wear goggles and numbers), and Willy's permanent disappearance is disturbing in the context of a story that presents spermatazoa as characters, not gametes. Worldly older siblings and adults are likely to be Allan's most responsive audience, but many under-five readers may still enjoy the sojourn to a world of endearing, exotic tadpole creatures. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 6949 KB
  • Print Length: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (November 30, 2011)
  • Publication Date: November 30, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006412O5S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,153,351 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Under normal circumstances I am an extraordinarily poised and respectable person. I do not chew with my mouth open. I do not pick my nose in public. And if someone says "bless you" when I sneeze I offer the obligatory "thank you" in response. All that went out the window the minute I saw the cover for "Where Willy Went". I stared. Then I screwed up my eyes and tried as hard as I possibly could to make sense of the image. A pollywog in goggles? A flagellum in some kind of a race? My eyes trailed downwards to the byline, "The big story of a little sperm" and I let out a truly unladylike guffaw right there in the middle of the bookstore. Oh, that is rich, I thought. That is an example of a book that just does not care if ban-crazy parents like it or hate it. It's doing its own thing and devil take the hindmost. You have to respect its plucky can-do attitude. Whether you appreciate its writing is another story.

"Willy was a little sperm". If you can get past that sentence then you're doing well. Living contentedly in Mr. Browne, Willy was an excellent swimmer. Alongside every other sperm he longed to win The Great Swimming Race. He practiced constantly in the hope of beating the 300 million competitors. When the Race begins (off-screen and tastefully) Willy wins hands-down and burrows into the egg. The egg becomes a babe, the babe is born and named Edna (it's anyone's guess as to why), and, like Willy, Edna has no head for numbers, "but she was VERY good at swimming". One prays that kids will not then immediately believe that she too will be practicing for a similar Great Swimming Race anytime soon.

What it all boils down to is what you want out of your "how are babies born" picture books.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
It's inevitable that you'll get the "where do babies come from" question at some point in your child's first five or six years. You could use the old story about the stork, or you could bring in Willy to help you out.

It's a sweet book, and though it does show some matter-of-fact illustrations of Mr. and Mrs. Browne and their parts, it's never in a gross-out kind of way. It's quite anatomical (with a cheeky map of where Willy will have to go - no actual sex depicted, thankfully), and yet tells it all as if you're reading about any little silly character a book author might make up. It's a non-confrontational method of telling the story - you know, when you have to.

This will be the one I, too, use for my son when he "pops" the question. After looking through about a dozen books on the subject, this was the only one that was both correct and didn't make me squirmish. Mr. and Mrs. Browne actually look like people who might want to make babies with one another (not that my son will know, but I got pretty grossed out looking at the "daddy" in one of the older books at my local bookstore - were he my husband, there would BE no sex and no baby). It's probably the least frightening possible answer and keeps the daddies laughing. Hey, maybe I'll give the book to my husband and let HIM take care of the issue when it comes around.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book to start introducing the idea of sex to my six- and seven-year-old children. They love this book. They've both re-read it several times and talk about the concepts within. Some of the diagrams are simplified for the intended audience (not expecting Gray's Anatomy), but it was adequate enough to satisfy my daughter's piquing curiosity about how bodies are different and my son's curiosity about exactly how a man's penis contributes to making a baby.

But this book isn't the first and last conversation you should have with your kids about the topic, either. We're using it as a launching point, to put the seed into their minds (bad pun) that this happens and this is where they came from. And they love discussing whether they were Willy, if they are better at swimming or at sums, etc. They'll ask more detailed questions as time passes (and they already have). But I can't stress enough how enjoyable this book was for both my kids and me and I can't imagine a better or easier way to start this conversation.
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Format: Hardcover
Willy Brown's a sperm. Yes, a sperm. One of 300 million, in fact, though he has trouble counting that high. That's okay, all he needs is one talent: to wag his microscopic tail faster than his rivals. There's a chuckle a page in this frank - but not graphic - first book about sex.

Allen leaves just enough details to the imagination to make this a safe read even for squeamish parents. His warmth and humor add to the sense of magic about what happens after Willy makes the Great Swim from Mr. to Mrs. Brown.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I work as a counselor, and often times meet with young teens/tweens and/or cognitively impaired young folks. This book is very colorful, not raunchy at all, and still puts a smile on your face, all while educating the reader about the basic functions of reproduction. Helping a young person understand why they get physically aroused can sometimes be awkward, but having this book around as a tool sure helps in those difficult cases. The story line itself is actually rather funny as well, so everyone can laugh, and not feel tense when reading the book. My 9 year old daughter found the book on the table when I got it home and went through it. She gave me a funny look, and asked me what it was, after she had read it. I snickered, but explained it to her, and now she is much more comfortable with the entire topic. I didn't intent for my 9 year old to see it, but I believe she handled it rather well. Maybe that can help you decide wether or not your child is at the appropriate age for sexual education. If nothing else, it's a fun story!
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