Who Has What? written by Robie H Harris and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Who Has What? All About Girls' Bodies and Boys' Bodies by Robie H Harris and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott is a standout book, both for the fact that there are very few books that cover this subject on the shelves today and for the relatable, story-like way that Harris presents the facts. Even if you are a family that is completely comfortable talking about these things, this book is invaluable for the age appropriate presentation of the visuals that go with the information. As Kirkus Reviews notes, "This much-needed title stands out for its comfortably familiar presentation of material adults sometimes find difficult to share with young."
A trip to the beach and some word play between a brother an sister start off Who Has What? All About Girls' Bodies and Boys' Bodies. Nellie and Gus talk about bodies and how everybody has a body. And, while bodies are different, most things about boys and girls are the same. As they drive past a busy playground the text reads, "Boys and girls like to catch frogs, swing high up in the air, ride scooters, and make a lot of noise." One more page talks about how boys and girls are the same and like to "run fast, play catch, and take their dollies and stuffed animals for a stroll," then, as they set up their towels on the beach, the children begin to talk about how boys' and girls' bodies are different but not "all THAT different."
Who has what parts? Before moving on to the parts that truly make boys' and girls' bodies different, Harris labels all the parts that are the same, including dog parts, from nose to ears to chin, cheek and eye, moving on to neck, shoulder, fingers and so on, on the following page. When Nellie, her mother and their girl dog go into the cabana to change, labels point out the "opening to the vagina," the "opening where pee comes out" and the "opening here poop comes out" for Nellie and the dog while the text explains the female anatomy, noting that "boys, baby boys, and men do not have an opening to the vagina." Gus's boy anatomy is covered on the next page, then Mom and Dad enter the picture and appropriately palced boxes reveal the internal reproductive organs that Nellie, her mother and the dog share and those that Gus, his dad and the male dog share. The use of words that young readers might use makes Who Has What? All About Girls' Bodies and Boys' Bodies even more comprehensive for young listeners. Breast feeding, facial hair are touched upon as well and the illustrations for these pages show, discretely, a mother nursing, a father with a beard giving his baby a bottle, and a very pregnant woman.
One final thing, Wescott's wonderful illustrations show all different kinds of families and a range of races, ages and nationalities, which I really appreciate.
Robie H Harris is also the author of It's Not the Stork, a great book about where babies come from for ages four and up, It's So Amazing: A Book ABout Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families, a slightly more in depth look at sexual health for children seven and up and It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health, a book for kids ten and up. With these four books, you should have the first twelve years or so of your child's life covered!