Where Willy Went [NOOK Book]

Overview

Never before have the facts of life been presented in such an accessible—or novel—way. Our hero is Willy, a little sperm who lives inside Mr. Browne with 300 million friends. Every day Willy practices for the Great Swimming Race. And when the day arrives, he swims faster than his 300 million friends to win the prize—a marvelous egg. Then something wonderful happens, and eventually Mr. and Mrs. Browne have a baby girl who has the same winning ...
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Where Willy Went

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Overview

Never before have the facts of life been presented in such an accessible—or novel—way. Our hero is Willy, a little sperm who lives inside Mr. Browne with 300 million friends. Every day Willy practices for the Great Swimming Race. And when the day arrives, he swims faster than his 300 million friends to win the prize—a marvelous egg. Then something wonderful happens, and eventually Mr. and Mrs. Browne have a baby girl who has the same winning smile as Willy and who grows up to be a great swimmer.

Hilariously funny, warm, and endearing, this is a picture book that appeals on different levels to both children and grown-ups.

“Fresh, original, and imaginative. . . . Allan’s achievement is in couching fascinating facts within the construct of a gentle, direct narrative. A little knowledge is a wonderful thing, and as the rest of the facts of life fall into place, Allan’s readers will look back on this book with a mixture of fondness and wry amusement.” —The Guardian (UK)
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The hero of Allan's (The Queen's Knickers) droll and informative tale is a sperm named Willy who lives inside Mr. Browne "at the same address" as 300 million other sperm. The author wryly portrays that address and its inhabitants in a cross-section drawing of Mr. Browne's testicle, in which minuscule sperms bustle around a crowded town-like setting, complete with a "sperm bank," swimming pool and cinema. The author then zeroes in on Willy, who practices daily for the "Great Swimming Race," the prize for which is the "beautiful egg" inside Mrs. Browne. Willy isn't able to answer his teacher's question about how many sperms he'll have to beat ("He wasn't very good at math, but he was very good at swimming"). But the teacher provides the racers with two maps-whimsically depicting the anatomically correct "inside" views of Mr. and Mrs. Browne. That night, when the couple "joined together" (lumpy bedclothes suggests their presence underneath), the race gets underway. Willy outswims his main rival and burrows into the egg. Rudimentary time-lapse drawings reveal "something wonderful" happening as the egg develops into a fetus and Mrs. Browne gives birth to a baby girl. "Where had little Willy gone? Who knows?," asks the author, who then slyly notes that when the child grows older, "she found she wasn't very good at math... but she was very good at swimming!" Delivering basic facts with subtlety and humor, this sprightly story will serve as a useful catalyst for adult-child dialogue. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Willy is not good at math but excels at swimming. He and his nemesis, Butch, practice every day for the Great Swimming Race. Finally, armed with goggles, a number, and two maps, he and 300 million other competitors swim madly for the prize-the egg inside Mrs. Browne. Willy is a sperm. All his practicing pays off and he victoriously burrows into the "lovely and soft" egg, which grows and grows in Mrs. Browne's tummy until it becomes a baby girl. But "Where had little Willy gone? Who knows?" However, when little Edna is old enough to start school, she isn't very good at math but she IS very good at swimming. This breezy and amusing romp may not resolve those pesky questions about reproduction but it certainly lends personality to the process of fertilization. The double-entendre title is indicative of the cheeky and humorous text, which is lively, well paced, and essentially accurate. The line and watercolor illustrations perfectly suit the irreverent tone and include a lift-the-flap expanded page and a "find Waldo"-style spread. Both sperm and humans are endearingly expressive. As to the science, an unclothed Mr. and Mrs. Browne are anatomically correct but the racing map of Mrs. Browne's reproductive system is confusingly vague. Nonetheless, adult readers will be thoroughly entertained and children will be charmed if not completely informed. While a relatively innocuous and engaging piece of sex ed, this title could be a potentially provocative addition to picture-book collections.-Carol Ann Wilson, formerly at Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Willy is an enterprising little sperm, if a little on the numb side when it comes to arithmetic. Still, he's quite a swimmer, and on the day of the Great Swimming Race he manages to navigate both the map of Mr. Browne and the Map of Mrs. Browne, and beat the other 299,999 competitors to reach the prize: a beautiful egg. Taking his cue from Monty Python, Allan tells Willy's story with a light touch, equipping all the sperm with itty-bitty goggles and racing numbers and imbuing the resulting baby Edna with both Willy's difficulty with numbers and his talent for swimming. It's all very good-humored, and the maps of the parents Browne are more or less anatomically accurate, but the tale begs-and then fails to answer-the hard question: "But how does Willy get into Mrs. Browne?" A long shot of a bed with heaped-up covers is discreet but clear as mud. Any offering that purports to explain "the facts of life," as its jacket copy boasts, but dodges that critical question, does both children and their hapless parents a real disservice. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375983801
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/30/2011
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,082,640
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

Nicholas Allan is acclaimed for his ability to be simultaneously comic and serious. His quirky picture books include Jesus’ Christmas Party, an amusing yet endearing view of the Nativity story, and the enormous bestseller in England, The Queen’s Knickers. The author lives in England.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

4 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Hilarious!

    While this may not be the best book for young children, it is extremely funny for adults. I've given it as a gift to two pregnant couples, as well as my OBGYN.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2005

    Willy helps parents

    Where Willy Went is a great book for opening dialogue between parents and children about sex and reproduction. It is neither too cutesy nor too graphic. It simply tells the story of conception from the point of view of a single sperm, Willy. However, it puts Willy in real life situations that enable a child to relate to him (i.e. In school, he's no good at math, but is a really good swimmer). The book is factual, yet entertaining. I read it to my 9 year old son and 7 year old daughter and found it was a perfect, gentle way to begin our first big discussion about the 'birds and bees'. I have recommended it too many times to count. It is in picture book format, so I would recommend it for parents with children who are not yet teenagers. If your child has started asking questions about exactly how he/she got here, it's just the book for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2013

    Omg!!!

    I laughed my a<_>ss off!! (^_^)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2005

    informative ENOUGH

    This is an interesting and relatively well-illustrated book for young children. Children ages 4-8 don't usually ask deep questions, nor need deep, detailed answers. We as adults need to be careful not to inundate these youngsters with too much information regarding reproduction. Let us be careful not to judge books for young children on what we think is enough or not enough information about sensitive subjects. Let the children ask their own questions in their own time and give them just enough information to satisfy them for the moment. As they mature, they will desire, and be able to absorb, more information. This book does a pretty good job at introducing the basics of human reproduction.

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