An engaging book that will likely fulfill a need for some parents.

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HOW WE BECAME A FAMILY

EGG DONOR, TWINS VERSION

A book for children and their parents that confronts the fact that sometimes the answer to the question “Where did I come from?” isn’t that simple.

Many parents tell their children, “You grew in Mommy’s tummy,” while others tell about their adoptions. However, well-meaning parents of children who were conceived through in vitro fertilization, or with an egg or sperm donor, may stumble over technical terms as they search for words that are honest, clear and simple enough for children. This book, part of a series from Bernard Villegas and Teresa Villegas (Golemito, 2013, with Ilan Stavans, etc.), offers a helping hand. It explains assisted reproduction in spare, restrained language that allows plenty of leeway for parents to deliver their own messages, and it also preserves the beauty and magic of a child’s birth. The story, told in the second person, as if a parent is speaking directly to a child, begins with two people who love each other so much they want to form a family: “They trusted each other, and they helped each other become the best person they could be.” But, when they try to make a baby, they can’t, so they see a doctor. The doctor explains that the couple has most of what they need to make a baby—particularly love and mutual respect—but they also need seeds, eggs and a nest: “Your father had the seeds and your mother had the nest, but she didn’t have any eggs.” It’s an elegant explanation that most children will grasp easily, and, of course, they already know the book’s happy ending. The story features muted, folk art–inspired illustrations, and although most are abstract (the parents have birdlike heads and humanlike bodies), one page has tastefully explicit anatomical drawings of a man and a woman, with the vulva, vagina, penis and scrotum labeled. As with everything else in this book, the drawings and the words are graceful and matter-of-fact. (This version of the book is written for egg-donor twins, and versions for single egg-donor babies and children conceived using donor sperm are also available.)

An engaging book that will likely fulfill a need for some parents.

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0988450103

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Heart and Mind Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

A killer thriller.

THREE HOURS IN PARIS

Black takes time out from chronicling the neighborhood-themed exploits of half-French detective Aimée Leduc to introduce a heroine as American as apple pie.

Kate Rees never expected to see Paris again, especially not under these circumstances. Born and bred in rural Oregon, she earned a scholarship to the Sorbonne, where she met Dafydd, a handsome Welshman who stole her heart. The start of World War II finds the couple stationed in the Orkney Islands, where Kate impresses Alfred Stepney of the War Department with the rifle skills she developed helping her dad and five brothers protect the family’s cattle. After unimaginable tragedy strikes, Stepney recruits Kate for a mission that will allow her to channel her newly ignited rage against the Germans who’ve just invaded France. She’s parachuted into the countryside, where her fluent French should help her blend in. Landing in a field, she hops a milk train to Paris, where she plans to shoot Adolf Hitler as he stands on the steps of Sacre-Coeur. Instead, she kills his admiral and has to flee through the streets of Paris, struggling to hook up with the rescuers who are supposed to extract her. Meanwhile, Gunter Hoffman, a career policeman in a wartime assignment with the Reichssicherheitsdienst security forces, is charged with finding the assassin who dared attempt to kill the Führer. It’s hard to see how it can end well for both the cop and the cowgirl. The heroine’s flight is too episodic to capitalize on Black’s skill at character development, but she’s great at raising readers’ blood pressure.

A killer thriller.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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