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What's the Big Secret?

What's the Big Secret?

Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys

Author: Laurene Krasny Brown

Price: $6.99

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From the Publisher:

With characteristic sensitivity, the talented team who created Dinosaurs Divorce presents helpful basic information on sex. Lively and humorous illustrations help with the confusion and embarrassment that often arise when it's time for body talk. What's the Big Secret? is the beginning of one of the most important conversations parents and their children will have. Full color.

From The Critics:

Publishers Weekly

The creators of When Dinosaurs Die and Dinosaurs Divorce gracefully tackle another topic that is potentially problematic for youngstersthis time without dinosaur characters. Marc Brown's familiar renderings of bouncy kids and their parents fill these brightly hued, cheerfully cluttered pages, helping to put young readersand their parentstotally at ease. Using straight text as well as cartoons that include dialogue balloons, the narrative does likewise. The delivery is chatty yet frank, and avoids talking down as the authors discuss how boys and girls differ (concluding that they're more alike than not, except for certain physical characteristics); the importance of respecting others' feelings and privacy, including that "no one has the right to touch you in a way that feels wrong or uncomfortable"; how conception occurs and why "the womb is a perfect first home." Although some of the issues may be sophisticated for the lower end of the age range (e.g., "Inside the fertilized egg is information about how to shape this new life. These instructions, called genes, decide such things as a baby's skin color"), this is a suitably simplified, lucid introduction to sex and reproduction. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Children's Literature

How are girls and boys different? How are they the same? Why do girls and boys use the toilet differently? How are babies made? With the right amount of warmth and humor to break the ice but not get corny, Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown introduce the topic of sex. Honest, factual language and simple illustrations explain male and female body parts, growing up, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, sexual feelings, and privacy in a way that makes this subject no more of a giggler than a trip to the grocery store. Kids and parents will appreciate the honest tone--enough information to answer questions but not too much information. The book is appropriate for small children starting to ask big questions, as well as older kids who have not shown much interest in this topic. So, what is the big secret? 2000 (orig. 1997), Little Brown & Co., Ages 4 to 8, $15.95 and $5.95. Reviewer: Julie Steinberg

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3How can you tell a boy from a girl? What are the proper terms for genitalia? How do you make a baby? Where does a belly button come from? The Browns answer these and similar questions in an honest, but superficial way that will satisfy some youngsters, but leave others with many questions unanswered. Overly detailed for younger children and too incomplete for those nearing puberty, this information will be most useful as a bridge between books meant for preschoolers describing birth and those that tackle the process of maturation, sexuality, and the responsibilities and choices that come with growing up. The illustrations are excellent: colorful and cartoonlike, yet clear in their representation of human anatomy in both internal and external views. The layout and cover design will attract youngsters and their familiarity with this author/illustrator team will also add to its appeal. The greatest value of this work, however, will be in promoting dialogue between caregivers and children, especially if they read it together, but adults should be prepared to field many ancillary questions not covered in the text.Melissa Gross, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

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