Cover image for It's so amazing! / a book about eggs, sperm, birth, babies, and families
Title:
It's so amazing! / a book about eggs, sperm, birth, babies, and families
Author:
Harris, Robie H.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
81 pages : color illustrations ; 31 cm
Summary:
Uses bird and bee cartoon characters to present straightforward explanations of topics related to sexual development, love, reproduction, adoption, sexually transmitted diseases, and more.
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780763600518
Format :
Book

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QP251.5 .H37 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

With honesty, accuracy, humor, and warmth, IT'S SO AMAZING offers children the real information they need--now more than ever.

How does a baby begin? What makes a baby female or male? Why are some babies twins? How is a baby adopted? Children sure have lots of questions about reproduction and babies--and about sex and sexuality too.

IT'S SO AMAZING! provides the fascinating answers--with fun, accurate, comic-book style artwork, and a clear, lively text that reflects an elementary-school child's interest in science and how things work. Throughout the book, a curious Bird and a squeamish Bee help tell the AMAZING story of how a baby is made--from the moment an egg and sperm join, through pregnancy, to birth. IT'S SO AMAZING! also addresses, in a reassuring and age-appropriate way, related topics such as love, sex, gender, families, heterosexuality, homosexuality, sexual abuse, and HIV and AIDS--while giving children a healthy understanding of their bodies.

Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, author and illustrator of IT'S PERFECTLY NORMAL: CHANGING BODIES, GROWING UP, SEX AND SEXUAL HEALTH, created IT'S SO AMAZING! in response to requests from parents, educators, librarians, and health professionals for a book that would address a younger child's concerns. Vetted and approved by science, health, and child development experts, this comprehensive, forthright, and funny book is just what children need--to provide answers to their questions and to keep them safe, healthy, and unafraid.


Author Notes

Robie H. Harris says, "My challenge in writing IT'S SO AMAZING! was to weave the fascinating and complicated science facts about reproduction and birth into the story of the egg and the sperm, and to communicate to children in an honest and simple way how amazing this story really is!"


Michael Emberley says that while creating the illustrations for IT'S SO AMAZING!, he "tried to delicately balance age-appropriateness, absolute accuracy, honesty, and just plain fun."


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

r. 2^-5. The author and illustrator duo that broke new ground with their frank talk and depiction of puberty and changing bodies in It's Perfectly Normal, (1994) returns with an equally outstanding book. It's for children who may have "noticed kids who are going through puberty" but are not there themselves and have questions about sex and "where babies come from." The simple and straightforward prose focuses on reproduction and birth, including information on eggs, sperm, male and female body parts, the multiple meanings of sex, fetal development and delivery, family composition, and "okay touches" and "not okay touches." Related issues such as puberty, sexual orientation, birth control, and AIDS receive less detailed attention. The text is browser friendly; important information and reassuring words are repeated. Harris is also very good at recognizing children's misconceptions and teams up with Emberley to address myths in humorous ways: one illustration clears up the confusion over where the pizza goes (in the mother's stomach) and where the baby grows (in the uterus, or womb). The inquisitive bird and the embarrassed bee of the first book are back, but in more prominent roles as commentators, word definers and pronouncers, and official punsters. The bold, colorful illustrations fill the pages and are not as graphic as in the previous book. With the exception of two pages showing male and female bodies from infancy to older adulthood, examples feature clothed children and adults, and comic-strip art chronicles the amazing adventures of egg and sperm. A welcome book that meets the needs of those in-between or curious kids who are not ready, developmentally or emotionally, for It's Perfectly Normal. --Amy Brandt


Publisher's Weekly Review

The creators of It's Perfectly Normal, targeted to middle-schoolers, here reach out to a slightly younger audience with candor and humor, neatly distilling various aspects of sex, reproduction and love. An inquisitive, loquacious bird and an embarrassed bee act as comic and straight man and serve as diverting foils to Harris's conversational narrative; kids will both identify with and chuckle at the two characters' reactions and asides. The duo's cheerful banter also clarifies some potentially confusing issues ("So the fetus doesn't grow where the pizza goes!" proclaims the newly enlightened bee). Specific topics covered include changes in boys' and girls' bodies during puberty, intercourse, birth control, chromosomes and genes, adoption and adjusting to a newborn sibling. The roster of experts in the closing acknowledgments speaks to the sensitivity and intelligence with which Harris and Emberley handle their treatment of masturbation, sexual abuse, HIV and AIDS and homosexuality. Emberley's artwork ranges from lighthearted cartoon panels of a talking sperm meeting up with an egg in the fallopian tube to straightforward drawings of reproductive organs and a developing fetus. With its informal yet informed perspective, this volume renders much "amazing" phenomena reassuringly comprehensible. Ages 7-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-Another barrier-breaking contribution by Harris and Emberley that seamlessly bridges It's Perfectly Normal (1994) and Happy Birth Day! (1996, both Candlewick). This oversized, attractive guide on reproduction and birth answers common questions such as "Exactly what is sex?" and "Where does the baby actually come out?" The familiar enthusiastic bird and reluctant bee narrate the comic cartoon panels, eventually deciding that the miracles of birth, families, and love are just "so amazing." Readers will appreciate the life-size illustration of a full-term fetus, and adults will be grateful for the many different ways Emberley portrays situations not always easy to explain to children. People are represented with a variety of body shapes and ethnicity, and Harris discusses sexual preferences and alternative family situations. While the illustrations are engaging and often hilarious, factual information is effectively presented in a clear, nonjudgmental tone that will inform and assure readers. Topics covered include basic anatomy, conception, fetal development, birth, genetics, adoption, and love. Sexual abuse and HIV are sensitively mentioned in short, informative chapters. An essential guide that will delight and inform and appeal to young readers as well as adults.-Katie O'Dell, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One MEET THE BIRD AND THE BEE Do You Know What I Read? (1) CURIOUS? EMBARRASSED? CONFUSED? So How Do Babies Really Begin? Have you ever looked at your baby pictures? Have you ever wondered where babies come from -- or how babies are made -- or where you came from -- or how you really began? Everyone -- grandparents, parents, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and even teachers, firefighters, librarians, gymnasts, astronauts, dentists, scientists, cooks, nurses, shopkeepers, doctors, bus drivers, pilots, police officers, hockey players, mayors, and rock stars -- every person in the whole wide world was a baby once. The arrival of a new baby is so amazing! Most kids -- but not all -- are curious about how such an amazing and wonderful thing could possibly happen. You may think that by now you already know -- or that you should know -- exactly how a baby is made. But even if your mom or dad has talked to you about this, or even if you and your friends have talked about it -- it's still perfectly normal to have questions about where babies come from. Talking with a parent, a doctor, a nurse, or a teacher is a good way to find out answers to your questions. Sometimes you may feel very private about your questions and thoughts and feelings about how babies begin. Or it may feel embarrassing or hard to ask questions about making babies. Feeling curious about this, or embarrassed, or private, or even confused, is perfectly normal. And having lots of questions about where babies come from is also perfectly normal. Since the beginning of time, people young and old have tried to figure out where babies come from and how a baby is made. But how a baby is made is not a simple thing. That's why learning about it can be interesting and even fun -- no matter how old you are. (2) EGG + SPERM = BABY Reproduction When a new baby animal or plant is made, scientists call that "reproduction." To reproduce means "to make again" -- to make the same thing again. Reproduction is how plants and animals make new plants and animals like themselves. One fact about making a human baby is quite simple. It takes a sperm and an egg to make a baby. Sperm and eggs are cells. In fact, all plants and animals -- including humans -- are made up of cells. And the human body is made up of millions and millions and millions of cells. Sperm and eggs are the cells that can make a baby. The beginning cells of many animals -- but not all -- start to grow when an egg cell joins together with a sperm cell. This is the way humans make new babies. In fact, the beginning cells of a human baby can start to grow only when a sperm cell and an egg cell have joined together. (3) SAME AND DIFFERENT Male -- Female Another fact that's quite simple is that human babies -- like most other animals -- are born female or male. Girls and women are female. Boys and men are male. Most parts of our bodies -- our toes, our fingers, our noses, our legs, our arms, our eyes, our hearts, our lungs, our stomachs, our buttocks -- are the same and look quite the same whether we are female or male. The parts that are different are the parts that make each of us a female or a male. Some of these parts are on the outside of our bodies. Some are inside our bodies. Some are also the parts -- when a person's body grows up -- that can make a baby. A male's sperm is needed to make a baby. Sperm are made in the male parts called "testicles." When a boy's body grows up, his two testicles will make an amazing amount of sperm -- about one hundred million to three hundred million each day. A female's egg is needed to make a baby. Eggs are stored inside the female parts called "ovaries." When a baby girl is born, her two ovaries have all the eggs -- about one million to two million -- she will ever need to make a baby. Although every boy is born with the parts that will make millions of sperm, and every girl is born with the parts that store millions of eggs, those parts cannot make a baby until a child's body has grown up. And that time is called "puberty." Copyright © 1999 BEE Productions, Inc.. All rights reserved.