|by Jim Burns|
|by Jim Burns|
I first came across these two books last year, when I was pregnant with my youngest. My teenager is pretty clear on general concepts (and, after being in the delivery room, is also pretty clear on avoiding all possibilities for a while!) but I have three younger boys, then aged 3, 5 and 6. Their initial questions were along the lines of, "How is the doctor going to get the baby out?", followed by the inevitable, "How did the baby get in there in the first place?"
Every parent handles these questions differently, and since you know your kids best, you know what works best for you. We tend to use accurate names for body parts, and try to give straightforward answers that are age-appropriate. Even the most open parent, however, can stumble and stammer a bit trying to find the right words, and that's where a good book can come in really handy!
Burns takes a very straightforward approach I appreciated, with a Christian viewpoint that I also like. The religious message is not heavy-handed, so you can hand these to a variety of patrons looking for a way to explain the differences between boys and girls, or where babies come from. For example:
To every little girl God gave a vagina and a womb. Little girls grow up to become women, and because they have these special parts in their bodies, they can become mommies. (pg. 14 God Made Your Body)The text is accompanied by pictures of multi-racial children and a simple line drawing.
These books are geared toward children around the ages of 3-7. Some parts may be a bit technical for the 3-year-old, but it is a simple matter to skip over those for the time being. Explanations are, for the most part, very simple and easy to understand. Objects familiar to a child, such as a Cheerio or an orange slice, are used to show how big a baby is at different stages of gestation.
The only part we take issue with is the section in both on adoption. We love that it is included as a way families are formed, but we wish that a) Burns had included families formed by marriage (where the parents already have children), and b) Burns had NOT stated, "The birth parents lovingly choose to have someone else raise the child." Um...sometimes. Very often, though, adoption has more to do with the decisions of social workers and judges than any selflessness on the parents' part.
That bit aside, these books were perfect for our family, and were read over and over last year. And now it's time to dust them off again! Yep, Miss Ami is expecting again, due in August (one week after summer reading - do we plan things well, or what?!) Great news to start the holiday season with!
For more reviews of great nonfiction books, click over to Playing by the Book.