Books by Dr. Gail Saltz

Released: Sept. 1, 2007

In the note to parents that precedes this chatty offering, Saltz says, "By [ages seven to ten, children] know that the sperm is in Daddy and the egg is in Mommy, so naturally they are wondering, ‘How does one get to the other?' " The answer is here, in nicely anatomically cross-sectioned detail, along with an introduction to the changes that come with puberty leading up to the egg-and-sperm moment, and a brief discussion of the pregnancy that may well follow. In both its address to parents and children, the text is appropriately reassuring and matter-of-fact (much care is taken to use medical vocabulary for genitalia), although much is missing. There is no discussion of birth control or STDs, and it assumes a values system in which sexual intercourse and having babies are linked, without marriage as a prerequisite. Cravath's cartoon illustrations are accurate and amusing, and take some care to depict a multiethnic cast. In comprehensiveness, frankness and warmth, however, the whole cannot hold a candle to the Robie H. Harris/Michael Emberley trio of sex-ed books and must therefore be considered an additional purchase. (Nonfiction. 6-12)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2005

Brightened by sunny, simply drawn cartoons featuring people of several ages and skin shades, this introduction to the reproductive organs is designed as much to allay parental anxiety as to provide answers to younger children's questions. Saltz, a practicing psychiatrist, describes the male and female set-ups in a light, relaxed tone, suggesting that it's better to use specific terms rather than euphemisms for visible organs, and tracking physical changes from infancy to adulthood. She steers clear of topics deemed beyond her child audience's understanding, such as sexual intercourse, or stages of fetal development, and backs up vague allusions to masturbation and privacy boundaries with a closing note in much smaller type. Though urethras are repeatedly mentioned but never illustrated, there are no lists of further information sources, and a description of sperm as looking "sort of like tadpoles" may leave some misapprehensions about their size, this makes an adequate discussion starter for parents with children not yet up to the level of detail in Robie H. Harris's It's So Amazing! (1999). (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-7)Read full book review >