- Paperback: 22 pages
- Publisher: Kathleen Legler; 1st edition (November 16, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0615376339
- ISBN-13: 978-0615376332
- Package Dimensions: 8.6 x 8.5 x 0.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,169,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What happened? A guide to help children understand the intact and circumcised penis Paperback – November 16, 2010
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This is a great new book for kids. It does a precise and kid-friendly job at explaining the differences between the intact and cut child, and acknowledges there may be emotions that go along with learning about these things --Peaceful Parenting Blog
About the Author
Kathleen Legler is a mother, author and intactivist. An intactivist is a neologism for an activist who campaigns to keep children's bodies intact. She hopes that with the publication of What happened?, parents will find it easier to discuss the difficult subject matter of circumcision with their children.
Top customer reviews
While the book is intended for children, it seems more targeted at parents. "Never forcibly retract a child's foreskin," the book warns parents (not kids) on page 4. Parts of it read like an instructional manual: "When his foreskin is fully retractable, ballooning usually stops. The boy can then clean underneath his foreskin with warm water (soap can irritate this sensitive part of the body)."
Page 6 includes a diagram of a mature (and possibly erect) penis in various states of retraction. It may be informative to parents, but probably wasn't selected with children in mind.
Most problematically, the book does not follow a central character or storyline; rather, it presents a series of anatomical diagrams, biology textbook style. I don't know how captivating this will be to children. I'd imagine kids would rather see a boy going through the "ballooning" process than an anatomical drawing of it.
Nevertheless I give this book three stars for dealing with a divisive topic in a gentle and informative manner. It might be useful in educating a son about foreskin care, but probably not one that bears repeating. It's not a bedtime classic, but I hope that it paves the way for other children's books on the subject.
It is very informative in a "child-friendly" manner and easy to understand. The photos illustrated are also "child-friendly."
I love that it teaches children to respect each other and explains that some children did not choose to have part of their privates amputated. Tolerance is something that seems to be missing from our society and this helps with that.
It's an excellent book to teach intact children that they were born and remain normal with all of their body parts.
Great job Kathleen!
Buy this book to:
(1) Help your child learn why you kept him intact
(2) Explain why some boys may look different
(3) Teach your child to be sensitive to those who were less fortunate
This book would be a very helpful purchase for the parents of any intact child facing the difficult questions that will surely arise growing up in a circumcising culture. Highly recommended.
My first impression, from its simple language and appealing illustrations, was that its aimed at very young children. However "What happened?" tackles a complex issue and leaves a lasting impression. I expect young children might want to hear it read repeatedly as they process the information within. I imagine some interesting discussions will arise among siblings of different ages with this book in the house.
"What happened?" is for children who are genitally intact. This book is not for children whose genitals have been cut, as it would raise far more questions than any parent who has had their child circumcised would be prepared to, or able to answer.
I was circumcised as an infant almost 60 years ago. I remained in the dark about this until the age of seven when an intact playmate gently explained why we looked different. The shock of his explanation ran through me like an electrical shock, perhaps a body recognition of the horrific event. Later I thought of this boy often and wondered about his parents. From his careful and truthful explanation, and the very kind and gentle way he revealed this to me I later surmised that his parents must have cautioned him to the wounded feelings of circumcised children, as this book so carefully does.
The only other book for children that I know of that discusses genital integrity of male children so frankly is, "The Joy of Being a Boy" by Elizabeth Noble. It's sixteen years since Noble's groundbreaking book was published and it may be difficult to find.
One tiny quibble with "What happened?" The explanation of the foreskin "hood" is good, however the continued use of the term of the "foreskin hood" and the illustration of the penis smiling with the little winter cap may be confusing to the very young child. He might wonder where his winter cap went. (Like I said, a small quibble.) The great thing about this book is the avenues of discussion it can and will open.
I purchased this an an E-book and now wish I had the hard copy. It's definitely a keeper!
PS: The back cover photo of the author with her son, and the tenderness between them, moves me deeply. I hope parents-to-be will see this book before they have children.