Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It's difficult to imagine an adolescent girl who wouldn't benefit from this candid, supportive and often genuinely funny guide to surviving-and enjoying-those awkward pre- and early-teen years. Newbery Honor author Jukes bares her soul about her own sometimes misguided experiences growing up in the 1950s, when typical parental strategy "was to withhold all facts about sex from kids until the kids got old enough to be so embarrassed by the topic that they would refuse to talk about it." A rich supply of personal anecdotes lightens up her explicit, thoroughly accessible discussion of puberty and sexuality; Tilley's (Riddle-icious) breezy cartoons also put readers at ease. The author fills her text with sage advice adolescents can't hear often enough, stressing the importance of resisting peer pressure, respecting and taking good care of one's body, and communicating with and seeking help from parents and other responsible adults ("Looking like an adult doesn't mean that you're expected to take on adult roles and responsibilities. You're a kid, entitled to the love, care and protection of the adults around you"). While she tackles tough subjects like sexual abuse, harassment and sexually transmitted diseases, she includes tips on more frivolous, kid-pleasing topics, such as shopping for clothes and selecting the right makeup. Written with a bracing, inspiriting honesty, this volume will spark communication between parents and daughters. Ages 11-14.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
There are such specific and important stages in a young woman's coming of age that I'm grateful to see individual books to guide them through! Even though my mother handled my initiation well, I still remember being upset when I got The Curse. As I watch my daughter mature, I realize that information and attitudes have changed so much that our children approach womanhood with more joy than fear, more happiness, than dread. Mavis Jukes' It's a Girl Thing is for girls 11-13. For years, Jukes has been a powerful contributor to children's books, but this is her first nonfiction book. Revealing much about her own coming of age with funny stories, she tells about everything from first bras to first kisses. The tone is factual and playful. Her book is as on-target as her fiction!
School Library Journal
Combining her own and friends' reminiscences with current research, Jukes discusses a wide variety of subjects from buying a bra to sexual harassment and abuse. In a warm, conversational style, she covers body changes in both boys and girls, menstruation, general health, drinking and drugs, sexual feelings, pregnancy, contraceptives, and sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. The text is sometimes humorous, but always conveys caring, respect, and concern. Illustrations consist of only a few small cartoons. Several styles of type are used to vary the look of the pages. The list for further reading offers good suggestions. Written for the same audience as Karen and Jennifer Gravelle's The Period Book (Walker, 1996), Jukes's book shares the same scope of coverage as Lynda Madaras's What's Happening to My Body? Book for Girls (Newmarket, 1987) and Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman's The New Teenage Body Book (Berkley, 1992). A fine and thoughtful effort.
-- Martha Gordon, formerly at South Salem Library, NY
"Frank and thoughtful, It's a Girl Thing tackles the complex terrain of sex and our bodies for preteens and early teens. A pre- Our Bodies/Ourselves."
-- Ms. Magazine