Backstory: Oh, this is a good one. If you want to read about how I refused to discuss sex with my preschooler in the peanut butter aisle of the local commissary you should check it out. Because you know, just no. In case you don't want to read my post suffice it to say that Peanut had some questions and then he had follow-up questions and I just thought a book would come in handy.
Why: I picked "God Made Your Body" by Jim Burns for a variety of reasons. I wanted a book that was age appropriate for a preschooler (because that was the part I was fuzzy about). We use correct terminology and wanted a book that did the same thing, but I also wanted something that presented that our bodies were made by God. I like the idea of having a book just "around" so that Peanut can look through it on his own, and I sometimes just toss it into the pile of books that we're reading.
Overview: "God Made Your Body" starts off by saying, "God made boys and God made girls. God made all shapes and sizes. He created all colors and languages. God made you." And that is a theme that is carried through the whole book.
They talk about different color eyes, skin, and hair that people can have. It moves on to talk about different things that boys and girls can be good at, and then talks about ways that their bodies are the same: teeth, toes, heart, etc. It's not until halfway through the book that anatomy is discussed at all. There is a page saying that boys have a p*enis and t*sticles and then they grow up to become men and can become daddies. The next page is for little girls and says that they have a v@gina and a womb and can grow up and become mommies.
After that it moves into talking about how mommies and daddies look different outwardly and are each good at special things. Then it discusses that mommies and daddies make children by "making love" and that it something that God made just for a husband and wife to do together. They use the terms egg, sperm, and embryo. They talk about how an embryo is a baby and grows inside the mommy and shows the size at 1, 3, 6, and 9 months. It explains the birth of a baby and how God designed people to be in families.
It introduces adoption at this point. Because I know you're interested in this part I'm going to quote the text directly. "Most of the time, babies are born into their families. Sometimes, babies are adopted into their families. Adoption happens when a child can't stay with his birth mother or father. The birth parents lovingly choose to have someone else raise the child. Another family wants to love the baby as their own, so he becomes part of that family. No matter how you came to your family, you are God's special gift to them!"
From there they talk about how every family is different and has different people in it. It ends with an emphasis that each child is special and made by God exactly as he wanted them to be and then closes with an easy to understand translation of Psalm 139:13-16.
Intended Audience: Peanut is toward the young side of the book's audience, but he was definitely interested in the book. It is a little wordy though and even Peanut's good attention span was challenged at a couple points. He liked the questions that were directed "at him" and we talked about those each time that we've read it. He also picked up and was able to point out right away the differences between the way his skin was described "light like a vanilla milk shake" and Little Miss who was "dark like chocolate ice cream". He also LOVED the description of her hair as being "loopy like a crazy straw". We did talk more about the anatomy and the boys and girls in our family and what they were equipped with. We also talked about adoption and Little Miss' first mother and how we adopted Little Miss. We've read the book multiple times and it definitely sustains his interest and I think that their age range of three to five is right on.
My thoughts: I've been really happy with this book. First of all, it's a really solid hardback book and so it's going to hold up well. I also really appreciate the pictures that they used. All the illustrations are of girls/boys/moms/dads of different ethnicity and visibly different characteristics and are actually photographs which makes them very eye-catching. The author was careful not to stereotype by gender roles when giving examples of activities. The pictures that are labeled with anatomy are hand-drawn blank and simple enough for kids to look at and understand. Like I said, it was a little wordy and so there were a few times that I abbreviated the book to keep Peanut's interest.
As far as terminology goes I didn't really have a problem with it. They do use the term "womb" instead of uterus, which I think sounds a little strange, but I guess is still accurate. When we were reading it I just flip-flopped back and forth between saying womb and uterus. We also use the term first mother instead of "birth mother", but that's just personal preference.
Peanut is three years old and the only thing that I felt like was too much information at this point was the part about "making love". It really wasn't a big deal for me. It means that there are two sentences in the book that I just don't read. He still gets the fact that children come from mommies and daddies and that daddies have sperm and mommies have egg and that makes the baby. Given the age ranges of the book though I can see that if you were reading this to a five year old that maybe it would be appropriate to introduce it. Even the sentences I don't read don't describe sex. It's really just giving a name to how the sperm and the egg get together. At any rate, we're not there yet.
Really though, I don't have complaints about this book. I've been really happy with it. I do think it's age appropriate because it addressed all the questions that Peanut asked me on his own. I like the way that they incorporated God into the design of families, bodies, and babies. I'm happy that they talked about adoption and that they showed beautiful pictures of diverse families. The only thing that I thought of when writing this review was that none of the pictures showed any person who was anything less than physically "normal". I think they missed an opportunity to show that people who have Down's Syndrome, a wheelchair, leg braces, or any other kind of obvious special needs are also made by God with love.
There is another book in this Pure Foundations "series" that is directed at the six to nine year old crowd. It also looks like the next set of books that he writes are geared more toward the teenage years with some that are written for teenagers and some for their parents. I won't recommend something that I haven't read and don't have any experience with, but based on the book that we do have I would say that these are worth checking out if you have older children and are trying to navigate these years and conversations. I know that I will be as my kiddos get older.
Score: 5 out of 5: This book was better than I expected and is a good tool for us to help our children maintain a shamefree view of their bodies.