Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE BEAUTY OF BIRTH by Colette Portal



Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1971
Publisher: Knopf

The picture story of pre-natal development from the union of the ovum and sperm to the baby's first cry, with a few introductory sentences on sexual intercourse and a flashback on ovulation and the journey of the sperm. There are more developmental details here than in Ardrey & Schepp's How Babies Are Made (1968) or the Showers' Before You Were a Baby (1969); besides pictures and descriptions of the total organism at various stages from fertilization to birth, there are four-panel series on the hand, the head, and the ear, and a brief passage on chromosomes, particularly those that determine sex (the pictures here are of free-floating external organs for a boy and a girl). Your reaction to the watercolor illustrations, which emphasize the ""beauty"" of the whole process in glowing pinks on a field of soft blue, is a matter of sensibility: we could do with a less poetic approach, but the end product is more instructive than it appears at first glance.