Robie H Harris targets middle-schoolers, reaching out to a slightly younger audience with candor and humor, neatly distilling various aspects of sex, reproduction and love.
An inquisitive, loquacious bird and an embarrassed bee act as comic and straight man and serve as diverting foils to Harris's conversational narrative; kids will both identify with and chuckle at the two characters' reactions and asides.
Specific topics that are covered include changes in boys' and girls' bodies during puberty, intercourse, birth control, chromosomes and genes, adoption and adjusting to a newborn sibling. The roster of experts in the closing acknowledgments speaks to the sensitivity and intelligence with which Harris and Emberley handle their treatment of masturbation, sexual abuse, HIV and AIDS and homosexuality.
Emberley's artwork ranges from lighthearted cartoon panels of a talking sperm meeting up with an egg in the fallopian tube to straightforward drawings of reproductive organs and a developing fetus.
Recommended for Ages 7 and Up