It’s Not The Stork

“What a joyous world Robie Harris and Michael Emberley have created for learning about everyone.”(1)

“It’s difficult to measure the importance of the vision of open communication about sexuality that Harris and Emberley have achieved.”(1)

It’s Not the Stork! was the last book of the series Robie Harris and I began back in 1991. The first book, It’s Perfectly Normal, took us three years to complete, The next book, It’s So Amazing!, took as long, And if I remember correctly this one took longer. Even though it was for ayounger age group, and was much simpler, it just goes to sow it can take longer to do things simply than in great detail.  It was published simultaneously in the UK by Walker Books in London. All of the books in this Family Library series were done this way. It was always a surprise to review the British changes, even after three books. Some things just don’t translate. The title on this book, Let’s Talk, was chosen not because they don’t have storks in the UK, it’s just that they had changed all the other books to “Let’s Talk…” titles, so it fit better. The original reason for changing the first book was because the phrase, “it’s perfectly normal”, was deemed to suggest quite the opposite in British vernacular, which is a big word for slang…. We had many such changes that we had to simply take on faith. (more to come…)

Awards & Editorial reviews:

  • Parents magazine highlighted IT’S NOT THE STORK! as a book to use for talking to pre-schoolers about sensitive subjects.
  • A 2006 Kirkus Editor’s Choice
  • A 2006 American Library Association Notable Book
  • A Nick Jr. Best Book Of 2006

(1)“What a joyous world Robie Harris and Michael Emberley have created for learning about everyone. First, they enchanted us with It’s Perfectly Normal, a welcome guide for young adolescents about what’s happening to their bodies, and It’s So Amazing!, an illustrated educational resource, for those wonderfully curious people aged seven to 12 years old. Now they give us It’s NOT the Stork, which answers “the perfectly normal” questions of children ages four to seven in a celebration of life from birth to old age.  It’s difficult to measure the importance of the vision of open communication about sexuality that Harris and Emberley have achieved. It’s their winning combination that charms: Harris’ meticulous research and understanding of children’s development and Emberley’s delightful illustrations that include people of all varieties. -Peggy Brick, MEd., Contemporary Sexuality, June 2007, Vol. 41, No. 6

“In their previous landmark volumes It’s Perfectly Normal and It’s So Amazing!, Harris and Emberley established themselves as the purveyors of reader-friendly, straightforward information on human sexuality for children…Emberley’s relaxed cartoon depictions of children and grownups with a realistic array of body types work seamlessly with the text to illustrate everything from anatomy to fetal development to different configurations of families. One useful and particularly humorous illustration titled “Pregnant Woman at the Movies” exemplifies the book’s attention to detail. A mixed-race family — white mom, black dad, son, and baby in utero — sit in their seats at the theater while labels pointing to the mother’s middle distinguish between the stomach and the uterus, clearly showing children that “the fetus doesn’t grow where the popcorn goes!”-The Horn Book, September/October 2006

“Friendly and relaxed cartoons, either interspersed with the text or appearing in comic strip form, are integral to the title’s success in imparting the material….Overall, this book will be accessible to its intended audience, comforting in its clarity and directness, and useful to a wide range of readers.” -School Library Journal, September 2006

“…Emberley’s affectionate, mood-lightening cartoons keep things approachable, while Harris’ respectful writing targets children’s natural curiosity without cloaking matters in obfuscating language… a sensitive entrée to the facts of life that will adapt to individual families who share the view that, when teaching kids about bodies and babies, honesty is the right strategy.” -Booklist, June 2006