Monday, September 08, 2008

pardon the mold and dust

I found a ton of classic... for some definition of classic... Old Skool romances at a library sale, and as always, am really curious about the backstory of how they got there, since it was clearly someone's once much-loved collection. Did they die? Get widowed? Discover feminism? I've heard from a number of people that losing a husband destroyed their ability to enjoy romances, and Eva Ibbotson stopped writing them after her husband died. (Romance's loss is children's book's gain.)

There's something very poignant about reading these old books, which are so horribly dated now, yet have had such strong appeal to countless readers. It feels a little like stepping into a time machine and living in someone else's past.


Nonfiction Monday: What's Inside Your Tummy, Mommy?

What's Inside Your Tummy, Mommy? written and illustrated by Abby Cocovini. Henry Holt, 2007 (978-0-8050-8760-4) $8.95 pb

An oversized format is the biggest selling point of this book about pregnancy, because it gives an actual size view of an embryo/fetus as it grows from month to month, from "smaller than a grain of rice" in month 1 to "as big as... a baby!" in month 9. (Month 9 requires a fold-out page.) Each month has its own two-page spread, with the illustrated tummy on one side and various facts on the other: "The baby has little bumps on its body, which are growing into arms and legs. A tube connects the developing baby to its mommy. This is the umbilical cord." Lighthearted little spot drawings illustrate the facts, but the baby itself, very simply sketched in charcoal, is always depicted with reasonable accuracy.

What's Inside Your Tummy, Mommy? is designed more to appeal to a sense of curiosity and wonder than to give concrete information. The emphasis is completely on the baby's growth during a very typical, textbook pregnancy. There's no mention of how conception occurs or much about childbirth, other than "When the time is right, the mommy starts to squeeze the baby out. It's a lot of hard work." (This is also one of the few mentions of what pregnancy is like for the mother.) Almost no technical terms are given.

Overall, although this would be an okay choice as a very general introduction to pregnancy for young children, for those not looking for a lot of facts, its obvious audience is kids who are expecting a new sibling; they will most enjoy the chance to "see" the baby month by month, and to try out things like shining a light at the pregnant woman's belly to see if the baby will turn its head. (2-6)

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