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What's the Big Secret?: Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys
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What's the Big Secret?: Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  197 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Simple, straightforward, and age-appropriate answers to kids' most common questions about sex, the human body, reproduction, and development.Are boys and girls different on the inside? How do you tell girls and boys apart? Do girls and boys have the same feelings? Is sex a dirty word? Where do babies come from? What does being pregnant mean? How do you get a belly button? ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published 1997)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  197 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Overall a decent book about sex, gender difference, and where babies come from, but omits non-heterosexual sex, transgendered bodies, and non penis-in-vagina conception.

The book starts off with what makes boys and girls different. It goes through a number of superficial things like clothes, names, play styles, and emotions and points out that "sometimes" girls and boys are different in these ways, "but not always." Throughout the book children are presented as crossing traditional gender
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I just picked this up from the library. It's a sex-ed book for young children. It manages the somewhat difficult task of providing just the right amount of information for little kids to be simultaneously educated, intrigued, and not grossed out or anxiously over-informed. The book starts with "what's the difference between boys and girls?" then dismisses as unreliable all the possible ways to differentiate: play styles, hairstyles, clothes, feelings, etc. That section ends with a cute diagram ...more
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
O.k. kill me now. I think that might just be easier so I can leave these conversations for my husband to have with our daughter. I miss the age where the big talks revolved around the importance of saying please and thank you. Thank goodness I can utilize books like this to help in plowing through these much needed but challenging conversations. This book was done in a way that was just the right amount of information without having unnecessary pictures or images of parents rocking the bed ...more
Cassandra Gelvin
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Could it be... cookies?

It's not bad, but I'm not impressed by it. It does actually use the words "placenta" and "umbilical cord," which other books seem to avoid for some bizarre reason. It starts out pretty similar to other books-- what's the difference between girls and boys? That's not a difference... That's not a difference... Oh, it's their bodies! One interesting snippet: "You may hear all kinds of words used to talk about girls' and boys' genitals. There are personal names, silly names,
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pbnf-600
Just enough clear, factual information for pre-pubescent children.
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a charming book that any parent can use to help their youngsters understand the differences between boys and girls. Filled with tasteful illustrations, this book doesn't go too graphic, yet still gets the facts across that any parent should be comfortable with. You get to see how we grow as we age, how babies grown in mommie's tummy, and even how we go to the bathroom differently. Every library should have this book in their collection!
Jan 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: can-t-do-it
This book doesn't do anything to dispel the "sex is weird and embarrassing" nonsense that I am specifically trying to avoid with my kids. Also, this book deserves no stars, if for no other reason than that it has the most ridiculous diagram of the female reproductive system EVER.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
You know, as a basic start point, this is pretty good. It covers all the basics in a way that is not to patronizing to kids, in a way that says sex, touching, etc. are okay, and in a way that maybe opens the door for communication between parents and kids, or simply a way to open a safe door for kids to understand.
It is geared primarily at heterosexual relationships and a heterosexual view of sex, but as a starting point that might not be 100% a bad thing, especially when you consider the fact
Liz Freed
This book is a fantastic and comprehensive introduction to sex for kids. A great way for parents to introduce and explain this topic to young children, covering all the topics in a standard-length picture book.

It affirms important things like emotions, the ways boys and girls are the same, touching and consent, curiosity, and the choice not to have children.

It includes important things often glossed over in sex education, including clitorises, the fact that women DON'T pee out of their vaginas,
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For a year now, I have been thinking about having THE discussion with my tweens who are curious about the 'sex' word that they hear in school. After reading the reviews of many books about the birds and the bees, I have settled on this book as an introduction. I am glad I did. THIS WAS AN EXCELLENT FIRST BOOK on the private human parts and the parts that boys and girls do have in common. It is very important to me that youths know there is nothing shameful about the human body, and that other ...more
This book covers a wide range of topics and is intended for a pre-pubescent audience. Topics involved include the following: masturbation, breast-feeding, appropriate vs. inappropriate touching, sex, reproduction, pregnancy, and contains diagrams of outer and inner genitalia.

While this book points out the differences between boys and girls from the standpoint of what gender they’re assigned at birth, it doesn’t feel overly cis-normative (meaning that it doesn’t over-emphasize a gender binary in
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
A nice introduction to the basics of human reproduction for young children. I read with my 7 and 9-year olds. As others have pointed out, it is written from a cis-centered viewpoint. While it is nice to point out that both girls and boys can do the same activities, feel the same feelings, etc. that section goes on a tad long. (Or maybe we take this for granted now?) It mentions the clitoris, but then gives no further explanation about its purpose. Also, I would have preferred a more detailed ...more
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This one is good, but it's not as good as the books by Harris & Emberley. It does begin with the premise that kids already know that sex is something they aren't supposed to talk about, so if that's where your kid is, this is a good one for addressing that head-on.
Clara Eilert
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: el-230
Good book for explaining boys v. Girls bodies and how we reproduce
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: growth-education
Perfect for my 6+10 yr olds
Kate Puleo Unger
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Books are a great way to start a conversation with a child about an important topic. Christopher has been watching some Disney shows on Netflix that are meant for kids much older than he is. They're relatively harmless, but it got me thinking. I don't want him to hear about sex from a TV show. We've already talked about where babies come from, but I hadn't really addresses the subject of sex. Sperm and eggs are fairly easy to talk about since it's science. But penises and vaginas are a little ...more
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have read a LOT of sex ed for kids books and this one was my favorite. I bought it to have ready quite a while ago and my 7 year old was finally ready to ask the question "But how does the baby get in the mommy's tummy in the first place?" We pulled out this book and read it together and discussed it and any other questions she had. There's this great CG video on YouTube ( that we watched afterward that even my little kids get a kick out of watching but this time ...more
Mar 21, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a well-done picture book that covers a lot of the beginning stuff to talk to your young children about sex. My only real complaint is that there was a topic or two that I felt were more appropriate for slightly older children than the style and format of the book. I think if I were to discuss some of it with my son, that it would confuse him more at the moment. Yet in another year or two when we are ready to discuss it, the book itself will seem to young. Others might not have this same ...more
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
With its casual, fun storybook approach and its familiar Marc Brown illustrations, this book smoothly and effectively demystifies sexuality, privacy, gender stereotypes, and more, well before mystification has a chance to begin. Our girls think this book is a riot!

Listen to our chat about this book on our Children's Book Podcast:
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is sex ed lite; the basics are outlined but related topics like the different shapes families take, adoption, etc., aren't explored. Also a little offputting that the jacket copy is written for an embarrassed parent and the book interior shows an embarrassed parent at points. It seems to introduce an issue that this book might otherwise have alleviated or eliminated by its existence and a matter-of-fact tone. ?
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
My sister gave us this book. It is well written. This isn't a topic we discuss often, and I'm not sure when which parts should be discussed. But reading it with our 5 and 7 year old boys, it seems pretty appropriate. It's probably better for the 7 yr old or even older kids, but it wasn't too much for the 5 year old. And there were definitely parts that were exactly at both their levels. It's fairly short as well, read over two bedtimes.
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for helping teaching your young child about the difference between boys and girls, how babies are made and how they develop. I read this to my 6 year old, and she really enjoyed the book. It gives the appropriate amount of information, in an easy to understand, and easy to talk about manner. The target audience is young, pre-pubescent children. On the last page, it says something about how when you are older, your body will start to change. I highly recommend it.
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-lit
A good way to delve the sex talk with a child, but I almost feel like this book might overwhelm a child who's unfamiliar with all the concepts introduced: body parts, masturbation, appropriate/inappropriate touching, where babies come from, baby development, birth. That's a LOT to take in for the intended ages of 4-8.
Jul 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
I used this book to discuss the birds & the bees with my 7 1/2 year-old daughter. I love that it not only discusses reproduction, but also privacy, saying no if you feel uncomfortable with someone touching you, and other personal issues. Great starter book for opening the door to human reproduction without getting into the specific mechanics of sex.
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It is a great first read after the book and DVD "Where did I come from?" Talks about the differences between boys and girls, girls and boys can like the same things, privacy as you grow changes. Great for pre-tweens and tweens. Simple text with good "let's talk about and question answering" illustrations.
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a very good book to learn about body parts, an intro to what sex is and how a baby is born. I read it to my girls who are 7 and 9. They seemed very comfortable learning about these things that we haven't talked very much about before.
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
How do you rate a sex ed book? I picked this up from the library to help aid in the family sex talk. My 8 year old preferred the real anatomy books to look at after we talked, but this is a good resource for children who might want to read more after talking with their parents.
Tuong Red
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read2014
Great information, especially for younger children.
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Good overview of sexuality but protective. it also addresses how it may be difficult to discuss with children...
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Some of this author's works are also published under the nickname "Laurie" Krasny Brown.