It’s So Amazing

This is the BEST sex education book for the 8 to 12’s…

—   School Library Journal (UK)

“Another barrier breaking contribution by Harris and Emberley”  —   School Library Journal (USA)

This is the second book of this series (titled It’s So Amazing!, in the US, and Let’s Talk About Where Babies Come From, in the UK) and though we learned tons the first time through, it took as much time to complete this one as the first – about three years.

Doing material for a younger age group proved to be a special challenge, as age appropriateness became the mantra. There was also a new team of designers and editors unfamiliar with the material, and with us. Robie and I are very, um, “hands on” shall we say. There were more than a few heated “debates”, between idealism on our side, and practicality on their side, as well as a lot of plain old disagreements. Sometimes we just wanted things one way, they another…This is the way with many book projects.

We ended up, after much passionate input, with a larger format book, with as many pages, and actually more information about certain topics than the first book.

The Bird and Bee characters are bigger and interact more with the text in this book so the design we came up with reflects that, as well as the intended younger audience. The text is boxed off, comic style, to allow the reader to follow the reactions of the Bird and the Bee more easily as they comment on specific things. Incidentally, the Bird and Bee were always meant to be “gender neutral” if there is such a thing. But everyone I ask, assumes they are male. Short of resorting to such cartoon gender clichés such as a dress or long hair, it’s difficult to imagine how a bee could be obviously female.

This book has more art than the last one as well. Some entire pages that originally began as “say it” text, became “show it” Illustrations, such as showing how a fetus eats and breaths. A picture is indeed sometimes worth several hundred words.

I personally like the way the art and color came out in this volume compared to the first one. It is a bit more assured, more lively. We learned so much the last time through. I became really acquainted with Bird and Bee during the years of the first book, so I didn’t have to think about what they might act, or look like in different situations. Since they are supposed to reflect the intended younger audience, I tried to make them look younger in this one. In the third, still younger volume, they will hopefully appear even younger.

You are inventing things as you go along the first time. So often a sequel is an improvement on the original. You hate to think what you did before wasn’t as good (and it was good, I think) yet, if it doesn’t get better in some way, then you really didn’t learn anything. Incidentally, offered the opportunity to change art for the fifth anniversary edition, I had no trouble choosing several illustrations to do over – a luxurious opportunity. Never happy, the artist. Some people tell me they can’t tell what I changed looking at both editions. To me it’s obvious.

Now this doesn’t relate to the text, just the design and illustration. I think Robie is consistent and thorough in a way I will never be. She spent a total of five years on the text for It’s Perfectly Normal, and about three years on this text. If you want to learn more about that, you can go to her website –RobieHarris.com, and/or the US publisher, Candlewick’s site, or the British publisher, Walker Books UK site, where it is titled,  Let’s Talk About Where Babies Come From .

Reviews:

“The author and illustrator duo that broke new ground with their frank talk and depictions of puberty and changing bodies in It’s Perfectly Normal, returns with an equally outstanding book.” —   Booklist, starred review

“The creators of It’s Perfectly Normal reach out to a younger audience with humor and candor”. —   Publisher’s Weekly, starred review.

“Harris and Emberley fill the gap between their Happy Birthday! and the instant classic It’s Perfectly Normal with this equally sensitive, good humored take on love and sex, puberty, genetics, pregnancy and related topics” — Kirkus Reviews, pointer review

“As in their first book, Harris’s words and Emberley’s cartoon illustration merge seamlessly to explore a wide range of topics…Parents looking for a way to keep embarrassment to a minimum when discussing sexuality with their younger children will appreciate this book.” —   The Horn Book, starred review

“Another barrier breaking contribution by Harris and Emberley…adults will be grateful for the many different ways Emberley portrays situations not always easy to explain to children.” —   School Library Journal, starred review

“Emberley’s illustrations are lively, humerous and informative, but also sensitive, warm and engaging”   —   The London Times

“this is the best sex education book for the 8 to 12?s I have seen…Yes, the book is originally American, but not too obviously. …All in all, an excellent resource for children, parents and schools.”  —   School Library Journal (UK)

Note: This book, along with the previous volume in the series, was reviewed by hundreds of sources; far too many to include but a sampling. All Candlewick books are also released in a UK edition (by Walker books in London) so that adds to the volume of press.

Many religious educators, UU parents, and RE teachers have asked, “Is there a resource you would recommend to bridge the gap between OWL Grades K-1 and OWL Grades 4-6?” Yes, there is! It’s called IT’S SO AMAZING!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families. Read more here.

All text on page samples & within art samples © Robie Harris/ Bee Productions Inc.