Eventually, most curious children are going to ask about where babies come from. It’s a straightforward question, but it’s not always the most comfortable one for a parent to answer. One way to facilitate an answer is by using a book to open the conversation. There are lots of great ones out there; here are two of the newer ones.
In The Baby Tree, a little boy has some questions about where his new baby sibling is coming from. He asks several people in his life, and gets a variety of answers–a seed, an egg, the hospital, the stork. The result is one very confused big brother. When he finally asks his parents, they explain, and he understands how the seed, the egg and the hospital come into the process. In a cute twist, he decides that he’s going to have to tell his grandfather, who told him about the stork, where babies really come from.
This is a good choice for younger kids. It gives parents a choice about introducing anatomical detail into the discussion; it’s there, but in a Q & A section at the end of the book. Families that aren’t quite ready for that level of detail can skip that part. The Q & A also addresses kids who are adopted and children with two moms or two dads.
For more detail, the newest entry in Robie Harris’s Let’s Talk about YOU and ME series has you covered. In What’s in There? All About Before You Were Born, endearing siblings Gus and Nellie are back to discuss what’s going on inside their mother’s body as they prepare for a new brother or sister. This book gives detailed information about fetal development, discussing what is happening inside the woman’s uterus and comparing the growing baby to fruit or vegetables to estimate size.
What’s in There? omits the mechanics of reproduction, beginning instead with fertilization, saying “All growing babies begin as one tiny cell. Half of this comes from a woman’s body. The other half comes from a man’s body. Together, they can grow into a baby.” This is great for younger kids who aren’t quite ready for more information; parents of older kids might need to supplement a bit.
Like all of Harris’s books, What’s In There? is straightforward and age appropriate, and this is a great choice for kids who have a lot of questions about what’s going on with their future sibling. The one misstep comes at the very end; Harris drops the sole mention of adoption onto the final page in a somewhat clumsy addition that will probably require parental clarification.
Review by Kate Sweeney
The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall; Nancy Paulsen Books; c2014
What’s In There? All About Before You Were Born by Robie H. Harris; Candlewick; c2013