A well-intentioned but less than satisfactory picture book on sex education for primary-grade children, from the team behind...

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WHAT'S THE BIG SECRET? Talking About Sex with Girls and Boys

A well-intentioned but less than satisfactory picture book on sex education for primary-grade children, from the team behind Dinosaurs Die (1996), and other guides. In simple words and drawings, the book covers anatomical differences (both external and internal) between boys and girls; rudimentary facts about sexual behavior (including masturbation), pregnancy, and birth; and information about ""good"" touching and ""bad"" touching. Set on a nearly impossible course, the book errs by providing both too much information and too little. Certain structures (e.g., clitoris, seminal vesicles, foreskin) are mentioned in the text or shown in diagrams with no further explanation. Intercourse is defined as ""when a man and woman fit his penis into her vagina,"" but the diagrams of the male and female organs make such a ""fit"" inconceivable. That sperm and egg meet during intercourse is clear, but ejaculation and the motility of sperm are not mentioned, possibly giving rise to some alarming speculations about the mechanics of coitus. In the section about ""bad touch"" the child is advised to ""speak up and tell him or her to stop. If that doesn't work, tell your mom or dad or another grown-up."" A responsible adult should be informed of any inappropriate touching. The laudable ambition--to make it easier for parents to talk with their children--is only partially realized.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0316101834

Page Count: 32

Publisher: "Little, Brown"

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1997