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Furman, R.A. (1991). Where Babies Come From: Stories to Help Parents Answer Preschooloers' Questions about Sex: By Martin Silverman, M.D. and Harriet Ziefert. Illustrated by Claire Schumacher. New York: Random House, 1989. 55 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 60:519-521.
(1991). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 60:519-521
Where Babies Come From: Stories to Help Parents Answer Preschooloers' Questions about Sex: By Martin Silverman, M.D. and Harriet Ziefert. Illustrated by Claire Schumacher. New York: Random House, 1989. 55 pp.
Review by: Robert A. Furman
This is a delightful book. I enjoyed it so much I found myself wishing my parents could have had a copy when I was a preschooler. It fulfills its role better than any comparable book I have ever seen.
What makes it such a good book? To begin with, the illustrations are beautifully done, in soft colors and in a charming fashion. And then there are two lovely characters, Little Elephant and his friend, Kikki, a monkey. They are a pair of happy, curious, fun-loving animals with whom one makes friends very easily. There is nothing scary about them. They are neither too big and angular, like a Big Bird, nor too dirty and dusty, so they do not frighten, excite, or put one off. They will evoke no emotions or defenses that might interfere with understanding what the stories in the book have to tell.
This is perhaps the key to book's success. In both pictures and text there is nothing to arouse anxiety or excitement. The four brief stories in the book follow a simple sequence, starting with the difference between eggs and babies that are inside the body and eggs and babies that hatch outside the body. Next is a simple explanation of sexual intercourse, before a section on the sexual differences, and then a final chapter on the arrival of Little Elephant's baby sister.
In the unfolding of this sequence, some very simple human emotions and reactions—anger, envy, frustration, confusion, teasing, fantasizing—are all calmly and simply dealt with. Perhaps nicest of all is the respectful way privacy is maintained in dealing with Little Elephant's wishes to see his parents' sexual organs.
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