Did anyone spit coffee just now? I was totally going for that. So, I have to ask. Do any of you recognize this book?
It was published in 1969, a year after I was born. Yeah, that train had left the depot by then (chasing down the one that carried my older sister, I presume), so I can only assume that someone bought the book for the benefit of my sister and me, for the day when we might have questions. It was maybe one of the more genius parenting moves ever made by our parents, and one I actually might copy.
The book tells all about reproduction, starting with bees pollinating flowers, then moving on to the reproductive practices of chickens and dogs and, finally, humans. The illustrations are brilliant–all of the pictures are 2-D paper cutouts, and are remarkably representative of things. I won’t splash the pages across your screen, in case you’re not ready to explain the images to your kids who may be walking by, but you can see a few of them here, here, here, and here. (That was all the warning I’m going to give you.)
The book definitely creates a shortcut for parents. Here, read this. No, that’s covered on page, uh, see? Right here. Yes, that’s a doggie’s hoohoo. Jeez. Just go read it. Although, bless the kids whose parents call it a hoohoo.
By the time I was five years old (maybe sooner) this book was on our bookshelf in either my sister’s or my room, available to us whenever we wanted to read it. Which made for an interesting conversation in kindergarten, when I tried to explain it all to my friends. Of course, a kid name Gene had to tell Mrs. Compton that I said people hatched out of eggs. Guess I didn’t explain things very well. Or maybe Gene was kind of an ass.
Two Christmases ago, I bought a copy of the book for my sister as a surprise. She and her husband had good laugh at the pictures, and so did the boys (who are teenagers). I wish now that I had ordered two copies, since I’m thinking about buying one for our house.
I do have an issue with this part of the book:
“Unlike plants and animals, when human mothers and fathers create a new baby they are sharing a very personal and special relationship.”
It’s not exactly an all-inclusive representation, is it? ‘Cause sometimes human mothers and fathers just share the back seat of a Honda.
Not to mention that sometimes human mothers and mothers share a mortgage and a membership to a sperm bank. Ditto fathers and fathers, but with donated eggs. The list goes on.
Still, the book gives a pretty decent sneak preview of reproduction (including some insight into what the heck Fido was doing in the back yard last week with the poodle from next door). I can fill in those other possible scenarios myself, which I would do, in any case. I’ll admit, though, I’m not sure I’m ready for all the questions (a few have come up already), but it’s my job to be ready. On this subject, I would rather my kids have answers than questions.
So I’m going to order it, I think. As soon as I stop hyperventilating.
And now, I’m dying to know: Would you buy this book for your home? Have you already? Are you going to steal it from your parents’ house next time you’re there?
Since some of you have expressed an interest in buying this book, here are links for a few places I’ve found it:
There are two different covers, the one above and another that is pink with the title in white lettering.
When it arrives, try to convince your kids you bought it for the articles.