With comic illustrations and a playful tone, this is a funny and factual book about an eternally relevant topic, giving parents and children a starting point for discussion.
Reviewed by Mary Roche
How Do You Make A Baby? does far more than the cover implies. The title question is comprehensively answered in a straightforward manner. Playful images lighten the heavy load of information.
‘Making a baby begins with love’. While the emphasis is on hetero-sexual parents-to-be, loving same-sex couples are also shown. Likewise, Anna Fiske‘s illustrations depict people of many different races. She presents the biological facts without prurience or coyness.
We witness each stage of the process of the growth of a baby – from conception through gestation to birth. The ease and difficulties of conceiving are addressed very simply. We learn about in-vitro fertilization and adoption, although not surrogacy. Birthing is shown as difficult (check out the Mums’ expressions) but worth the effort! Interestingly, multiple births do not feature, and little readers who are twins, triplets or more, might need some extra information.
The endpapers are educational in themselves: the front ones show hundreds of tiny spermatozoa vying to be ‘the one’ that is accepted by the huge egg, while the back endpapers are filled with a variety of prams from which little hands and feet wave.
Throughout, the wonder of human reproduction is highlighted. The penultimate spread shows the earth filled with babies – from swaddled new-borns to toddlers. The text reads: ‘A new baby in the world is one of the most brilliant and beautiful things there is.’ The final spread shows that, despite the world being filled with people who were all once babies, ‘there’s only one like you.’
It comes as no surprise to learn that the author-illustrator is Swedish, now living in Norway. There is a directness and frankness here that we tend to associate with picturebook makers from Scandinavian countries.
Don Bartlett provides the translation into English. How Do You Make A Baby? will be invaluable to parents who want to answer their child’s questions as honestly as possible.