Making More: How Life Begins by Katherine Roy (Norton Young Readers, March 2023) is a middle-grade nonfiction tome about animal reproduction, plant reproduction, and even fungi reproduction. In short, it will help every young reader gain a better insight into just how living things “make more” and continue the life cycle.
The first and last pages feel like a picture book: just a few words per page, with sweeping illustrations of a family, with an expectant mother, going for a walk in a park. This family provides a frame for learning about how all the living creatures they see also increase.
The explanatory sections of the book have a full-page illustration, then a few paragraphs of explanation, as well as a diagram to show just what is being discussed. Don’t read this picture book if you are squeamish about your children seeing pictures of animal sex and using proper terms for reproductive anatomy. Any middle-grade child reading this book will probably have questions answered about human intercourse as well, since the book provides descriptions using animal anatomy and obviously human anatomy has the same names as mammal anatomy.
I see Making More as an essential addition to nonfiction middle-grade shelf. Parents hesitant to talk about human reproduction may find it easier to approach from the “everything reproduces” perspective. I guess you can say that Making More helps ease the “birds and bees” discussion. (I feel like my kids and I didn’t really have awkward conversations, since we have tried to talk about it all since early childhood, but this book could only help!) I have to say that as an adult I learned things about how non-mammals reproduce, as well as more than I previously understood about plant reproduction. Now we just need to find a similar book in picture book format for younger children!
I received a digital copy of this book for review consideration.