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WHO HAS WHAT? by Robie H. Harris Kirkus Star


All About Girls' and Boys' Bodies

From the Let's Talk About You and Me series, volume 1

by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott

Age Range: 2 - 6

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-2931-1
Publisher: Candlewick

A family outing to the beach provides the opportunity for a discussion of the similarities and differences between boys and girls.

In a conversation between a pair of mixed-race preschoolers securely strapped in their car seats, Nellie’s play on the words “everybody” and “every body” leads Gus to wondering about body parts. Their beach visit provides an opportunity to see a variety of people and puppies, to itemize all the parts that boys and girls and dogs have in common (head, cheek, belly button, tummy, toes, etc.) and learn about those that are different. Harris (It's Not the Stork!, 2006, etc.) matter-of-factly combines common childhood language—“opening where poop comes out”—and anatomically correct terms such as vagina, penis and scrotum. The children's parents explain interior organs (appropriately placed boxes reveal what’s inside) while applying sunscreen. Some information is conveyed in text, some in speech balloons or labels. Westcott's digital cartoonlike illustrations show different compositions of families representing a wide range of ages, races and nationalities. They include a very pregnant mother in a bathing suit, as well as, appropriately shaded by beach umbrellas, a woman discreetly nursing a baby and a man giving a bottle to his.

This much-needed title stands out for its comfortably familiar presentation of material adults sometime find difficult to share with young children. (Informational picture book. 2-6)