Publishers WeeklyFour paperback titles kick off the Sunscreen series of self-help books aimed at teens. Just Us Girls by Moka, with Melissa Daly, illus. by Eric Heliot, divided into "phases" (sections) tackle subjects such as girls' changing bodies, self-awareness and relating to others-plus lighter fare such as "experimenting with makeup." Sex Explained by Magali Clausener-Petit, with Daly, illus. by Soledad, navigates the body's changes (for boys and girls) during puberty, as well as such topics as intercourse, contraception and sexual crimes (e.g., rape and incest), offering advice on how not to become a victim. My Parents Are Getting Divorced by Florence Cadier, with Daly, illus. by Claire Gandini, can help kids caught in the middle, providing reassurance and advice: "Just listening to their fighting is hard enough; you shouldn't have to referee." Finally, Feeling Freakish? by V ronique le Jeune and Philippe Eliakim, with Daly, illus. by Princess H, tackles self-esteem issues and ends with quotes from real kids. Cartoons mix a comic touch with compassion: a girl confesses to a boy, "I can't go out with you because my ears stick out... I'm sure you understand." Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Feeling Freakish? How to Be Comfortable in Your Own Skinby Melissa Daly, Veronique le Jeune
VOYAFew adolescents have not felt "freakish" at one time or another. This series entry tackles the topics of teen self-image and obsession with personal appearance. In the first phase, authors discuss how many teens feel awkward, uncomfortable, or downright ugly. Section two is devoted to the reasons, both physical and emotional, why many teens are not at home in their skins. The final section provides hope for the future with suggestions for making the most of what one has and for developing self-acceptance. Facts and information are interspersed with personal stories and humorous anecdotes in brief mini-chapters that maintain a rapid pace and avoid didacticism. Written in an approachable and humorous style and compassionate about the genuine hardships as well as the foibles of the teen years, this book reads like an extended article in a teen magazine, not surprising as one co-author has written for both Seventeen and Marie Claire. Although containing considerable information for both genders, the self-help format and magazine styling and illustrations will appeal mostly to girls. As a side benefit, though, they will gain insight into the trials of the male teen as well. Despite the positive and upbeat tone, there are no revelations here, and messages of self-acceptance might be too simplistic for teens who experience genuine bullying or oppression at school or home. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J S (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Amulet Books/Harry N. Abrams, 112p., Trade pb. Ages 11 to 18.
School Library JournalGr 6-8-Two French imports, one of which is just so-so and the other is a "no go." Sex Explained covers all the usual bases in its discussion of reproduction, intercourse, puberty, and human sexuality, written in a straightforward, even plodding style that offers nothing new or fresh. Abstinence is completely absent in its discussion of personal sexual choices. Feeling Freakish? devotes 81 pages to excruciating descriptions of all the ways and reasons that adolescents can feel unhappy about themselves, their bodies, and their relationships, then counters with 20 pages of platitudes urging readers to accept themselves as they are and emphasize their good points. The clincher, if all else fails, is to remember Aur lien, the novel by Louis Aragon, which begins, "The first time he saw Berenice, Aur lien found her frankly ugly," followed by 700 pages of falling in love with her. Be sure to include that one on the YA shelves! Both volumes are printed in color on thick stock, which gives them a juvenile appearance, and loaded with cartoon illustrations heavy on irony and sarcasm. The captions under the stages of fetal development in Sex Explained are in tiny light-colored print on a pastel background that is nearly impossible to read. Far better choices include Robie H. Harris's It's Perfectly Normal (Candlewick, 1994) and Lynda Madaras's The "What's Happening to My Body?" Book for Boys and The "What's Happening to My Body?" Book for Girls (both Newmarket, 2000).-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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