Candlewick Press September 24, 2013
Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
I’ve always wanted to write a book about pregnancy and birth for young children because whenever a young child sees a pregnant woman, most always he or she wonders, asks, or blurts out, “WHAT’S IN THERE?” Young children are often surprised when they find out that that’s where they grew before they were born and where all of us grew before we were born—an astonishing fact even for adults. The story of pregnancy is about all of us and I feel that it’s one of science’s most amazing stories. The truth is that young children see pregnant women all the time—their mommy, a friend’s or cousin’s mommy, a mommy on the bus, walking a dog—pregnant mommies everywhere. So it made sense to me that a book featuring siblings Gus and Nate, whose mommy is pregnant and gives birth to a new sibling for Gus and Nellie, is a book young children would find fascinating and fun. This also seemed like the perfect topic for illustrator Nadine Bernard Westcott’s and my five-book series of nonfiction books for young children. My sense is that the matter-of-fact text and conversations between the Gus and Nellie, and the warm, accessible, and utterly charming illustrations that Nadine has created have come together in a book that can help young children feel and understand that bring pregnant and giving birth to a new baby are perfectly normal and totally wonderful events!
The third installment in the Let’s Talk About You and Me series finds Harris back where adults expect to find her—discussing the human body for the youngest set.
Gus and Nellie’s mom is having a baby. The sibling pair from Who Has What? (2011) and Who’s in My Family? (2012) could not be more excited. But of course they have plenty of questions, too. Harris admirably begins by stressing that the baby is not growing inside mommy’s tummy but in her uterus. (“The uterus is just below a girl’s or woman’s tummy and is very soft and stretchy.”) Each spread represents a month of the pregnancy, but the passage of time is subtly hidden within Westcott’s cheery illustrations, rather than as a defined calendar counting down the days. Mommy can also be seen to be growing larger, with the fetus varying in size from a pencil-point dot to a watermelon. Amid the simple facts of development, Harris includes extra tidbits aimed squarely at the curiosities of child readers—the baby starts out with a tail! It pees a little inside the womb! However, the mention of how the baby was actually made is kept purely at a cellular level; adults may welcome the freedom to fill in that gap as they see fit.
Clear, direct and anatomically correct; an excellent entryway for the many anticipated questions about childbirth. (Informational picture book. 2-6)
—Kirkus, August 2013