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  • Who Has What?: All about Girls’ Bodies and Boys’ Bodies
  • Elizabeth Bush
Harris, Robie H. Who Has What?: All about Girls’ Bodies and Boys’ Bodies; illus. by Nadine Bernard Westcott. Candlewick, 2011. 36p. ISBN 978-0-7636-2931-1 $15.99 R 3–6 yrs.

Harris has been bringing her comprehensive yet light-hearted approach to sex education to younger and younger children, and unless she has a prenatal audience in mind for the future, here she hits the end of the road. Preschooler Nellie and her younger brother Gus are off with their parents for a day at the beach. The siblings’ chatter turns to bodies, their similarities and differences, and as they make observations about the preponderance of commonality (with, of course, a few striking and important gender differences), the narrator’s voice supplies commentary on how internal and external genitalia may someday figure into motherhood and fatherhood. The particulars of conception are left for another day and another title (quite likely Harris’ own It’s Not the Stork!, BCCB 10/06), and the steady focus on identifying body parts makes the territory below the swimsuits seem little more mysterious or significant than eyes and elbows and ankles. Although the children’s remarks sometimes feel a bit clunky and forced, the beach provides a natural setting for generating “the discussion”: the changing rooms afford the opportunity to check out everybody’s parts as they shimmy in and out of swimwear, while subtly underscoring the privacy altogether appropriate for the, well, altogether. Westcott’s bouncy cartoon cast is thoroughly multicultural, with Nellie and Gus the creamy-skinned offspring of a biracial couple and beachgoers representing just about every demographic under the blazing summer sun. With this appealing new title, families can now choose from among an almost seamless step-up series.



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