cover image What's the Big Secret?: Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys

What's the Big Secret?: Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys

Laurie Krasny Brown, Laurene Krasny Brown, Laurie Krasney Brown. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-10915-4

The creators of When Dinosaurs Die and Dinosaurs Divorce gracefully tackle another topic that is potentially problematic for youngsters--this 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 readers--and their parents--totally 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.)