The fifth title in Babette Cole's bestselling series of 'family dilemmas'
Babette Cole was born in Jersey in the Channel Islands. She graduated from Canterbury College of Art in 1973 and was the illustrator and author of more than 150 witty, imaginative, irreverent and thought-provoking picture books for children including the bestselling, stereotype-defying Princess Smartypants. She produced animated storyboards for the BBC and illustrated numerous greetings cards and books by other authors as well as her own. Babette adored the countryside and was a keen horse rider and breeder. She spent much of her life in Lincolnshire, before moving to Kent and then westward through Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.
Brandishing her outrageously sly sense of humor, Cole (Mommy Laid an Egg) tweaks the topic of puberty in all of its glory, with predictably boisterous results. Here, in response to a girl's query to her teddy bear about the process of growing up, she whips up "Mr. and Mrs. Hormone" and their dog, a vile little trio who "live inside you" and "mix the potions that turn children into adults." Typical of Cole's no-holds-barred approach, the girl's parents are used as examples ("your mom sprouted small bosoms and hair in funny places"). She touches briefly on everything from menstruation ("She found a tiny drop of blood in her underpants") to acne and body odor ("He wanted to kiss the girls but Mr. and Mrs. Hormone had made him pimply and smelly"), erections ("Inside his penis, Mr. Hormone was lurking with another dollop of the mixture. This made it grow big and small whenever it wanted") and nocturnal emissions ("some sticky stuff actually came out"). The watercolors are equally candid, and the gleeful depictions of naked bodies may raise adults' eyebrows but children will laugh out loud. Cole's madcap style leaves no room for embarrassment; it could pave the way for more informative discussions between kids and adults. Ages 7-up. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Classic picture book dealing with puberty * Sunday Express *
Gr 2-4-While there is a plethora of sex-education books for young readers, this picture book concentrates on how hormones affect young people during puberty. Ted, an animated stuffed bear, explains to his young owner about her parents' entry into adolescence. "Mr. and Mrs. Hormone-are in charge of growing up-[they] mix the potions that turn children into adults." The physical and emotional effects of their concoctions are discussed, including hair growth, pimples, menstruation ("Then she found a tiny drop of blood in her underpants!"), and wet dreams ("Then some sticky stuff actually came out"). No biological terms are used-only surface descriptions. As in so many of her books, Cole tackles this subject with lighthearted humor. The illustrations are a partner in the storytelling. Mr. and Mrs. Hormone are depicted as grotesque, pimple-covered, horned, hairy, and rotund mad scientists. The sweet-faced pubescent teens react honestly to their body changes with exuberance, worry, and anger. The naked cartoon characters have no modesty. While this title does not explain reproduction, it does serve as a loose introduction to hormonal change. Unfortunately, the breezy, irreverent style that's evident in both the text and illustrations limits the book's appeal to its target audience. Thus, its value is supplemental, not essential.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.