There’s a House Inside my Mummy by Giles Andreae and and illustrated by Vanessa Cabban, paperback picture book, first published by Orchard Books in 2001, this edition published in 2002.
A young boy is expecting a little brother or sister soon, and he is very excited. He describes what is happening through his experience. He watches his mummy as her tummy grows, when she is tired and sick, and the weird things the baby wants her to eat, as he waits and waits for the baby to arrive.
I first read this book to my eldest child when I was pregnant with my second child. She was only two, and this book was helpful in explaining pregnancy to her. We read it again during my third pregnancy, this time to both my girls. They enjoyed the idea of there being a house inside me where the baby was growing, just like in the story. It described what was happening in a kid-friendly way, with lovely rhyming texts and simple illustrations. It also gave us the opening to talk about pregnancy and how the baby was growing, and what would happen when the baby was ready to be born. The girls asked lots of questions, and asked to read this book repeatedly. Even though their little brother is here now, they still like to read this book sometimes.
There’s a House Inside my Mummy is a unique book about the joyous arrival of a new baby. It is nice to read with expectant big siblings, especially toddlers and preschoolers, in preparation for the baby’s arrival.
Amazing You! by Dr. Gail Saltz and illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath, paperback non-fiction, first published by Dutton Children’s Books in 2005, this edition published by Puffin Books in 2008.
Amazing You! is a basic look at the reproductive systems for young children. Aimed at preschoolers, this book provides information on body awareness and answers questions about ‘private parts’. It is a good first journey into what can be an awkward topic for many parents.
The text and illustrations are clear and simple, using anatomical names and easy to understand language. There is also a helpful section at the back of the book for parents on talking about sexual curiosity and where babies come from with their children. When it comes to describe how babies are made, it does not go into extensive detail, but sticks to the basics of egg and sperm, all a preschooler really needs to know. The book mentions that sexual curiosity is natural and normal, including masturbation and asking questions. It also reminds us that our bodies and our sexual organs should not be a source of embarrassment or shame, because they are all part of us, and we are amazing!
Mummy Laid an Egg! by Babette Cole, non-fiction paperback, first published by Jonathan Cape in 1993, this edition published by Red Fox in 1995.
Dad and Mum have decided to tell their kids where babies come from. They tell the kids that sometimes dinosaurs deliver babies, or they can be grown from seeds, made from gingerbread, or they can even be found under rocks! And in this case, the kids exploded from a huge egg that Mum laid on the couch. The kids think this is hilarious. They quickly begin on a journey to set their parents straight, including lots of drawings explaining just how babies are made.
A light-hearted look at reproduction, this book is perfect for younger children from preschool up. The drawings are humorous, educational, and appropriate for the intended audience. The language is easy to understand for children, and the subject matter is treated without any of the seriousness that sometimes surrounds this often delicate topic. I think this book would be especially good for parents who are a little nervous about having “the talk” with their kids, it is a great way to lighten the mood.
Both my preschooler and second grader love this book. I think that it is the best introduction to the sensitive subject of conception and reproduction that I have come across. It is honest, frank and amusing. I particularly like the pages that show how mummies and daddies fit together, some truly awkward and hilarious positions! My kids laughed at the ridiculous stories that the Mum and Dad tell their kids, as well as at many of the drawings throughout the book. It covered the basics, and my kids were happy with the content, re-reading it several times, asking questions and discussing it. A really nice book, I am very glad I purchased Mummy Laid an Egg!
What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth, non-fiction hardback, published by Seven Stories Press in 2012.
This book is bright, colourful and simple, and suitable for young children who are first becoming curious about where babies come from. It introduces sperm and eggs, and the concept that both are required to create a baby, but it is quite vague about how this actually happens. In fact the whole book is rather vague. It is one of the most abstract non-fiction books I have ever read. However, while it doesn’t present detailed information, it does provide prompts to begin the discussion of this issue in as much detail as a parent thinks is appropriate for their particular child at the time. It also provides opportunities for kids to ask questions. This book could be used to start a discussion that many parents find difficult to conquer.
I read this with my preschooler and second grader. They both thought the illustrations were a bit odd, especially the people that were coloured with blue or green or purple skin. My preschooler said a few times that people are not that colour! They were also amused that the sperm and egg had been given faces and that they perform a special dance together to form a baby. I think this book was actually too abstract for them, and they were quite distracted by the less than life-like pictures. They asked a few questions, but it didn’t develop into a deep conversation about how babies are formed, instead, it left them with a very superficial view of how life develops. We used this book as a first stepping stone onto more detailed texts.