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A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

by Robie H. Harris & illustrated by Michael Emberley

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-56402-199-8
Publisher: Candlewick

Illustrator Emberley (Welcome Back, Sun, 1993, etc.) has teamed up with Harris (Hot Henry, 1987, etc.) to present more ethnic and sexual diversity than New York City's Rainbow Curriculum ever bargained for as they battle all concepts non-PC: They take swings at ageism (``People have sexual intercourse well into old age'') and at homophobia in the military (pointing out that, in ancient Sparta, it was thought ``that if a warrior was in the same regiment as his lover, he would fight harder in order to impress him''). But there's more information than polemic here, as the reader is guided by a corny but never condescending pair—an uninhibited bird and a repressed bee—through puberty, anatomy, reproduction, and a sense of the emotional weight that accompanies sexuality. The book intelligently covers birth-control options, how to have safer sex, how to treat STDs, and, in an especially impressive chapter, how to combat sexual abuse—all without patronizing the pre- or post-pubescent. Emberley's illustrations are often as funny as they are informative. With affirmations of homosexuality and masturbation—``it's perfectly normal''—and a choice-leaning (yet cautious) discussion on abortion, this volume will be anathema to social conservatives. But for parents who fear that a school sex-ed class may not be informative enough, it will certainly aid that dreaded birds-and-bees discussion. A terrific teaching tool that just may help slow the spread of sexual diseases and ignorance. (Nonfiction. 10-14)