cover image Hair in Funny Places

Hair in Funny Places

Babette Cole. Hyperion Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0590-7

Brandishing her outrageously sly sense of humor, Cole (Mommy Laid an Egg) tweaks the topic of puberty in all of its glory, with predictably boisterous results. Here, in response to a girl's query to her teddy bear about the process of growing up, she whips up ""Mr. and Mrs. Hormone"" and their dog, a vile little trio who ""live inside you"" and ""mix the potions that turn children into adults."" Typical of Cole's no-holds-barred approach, the girl's parents are used as examples (""your mom sprouted small bosoms and hair in funny places""). She touches briefly on everything from menstruation (""She found a tiny drop of blood in her underpants"") to acne and body odor (""He wanted to kiss the girls but Mr. and Mrs. Hormone had made him pimply and smelly""), erections (""Inside his penis, Mr. Hormone was lurking with another dollop of the mixture. This made it grow big and small whenever it wanted"") and nocturnal emissions (""some sticky stuff actually came out""). The watercolors are equally candid, and the gleeful depictions of naked bodies may raise adults' eyebrows but children will laugh out loud. Cole's madcap style leaves no room for embarrassment; it could pave the way for more informative discussions between kids and adults. Ages 7-up. (June)