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This month we feature the cover of Chris Powling's latest title, Where the Quaggy Bends (see Authorgraph). The book is published in July by HarperCollins (0 00 185417 8, £7.99; 0 00 674087 1, £3.50 pbk) and we are grateful to them for their help in using this illustration.
The trouble with 'lift the flap' books is that the flaps wear out. Ever ingenious, Dorling Kindersley have got round that by giving us pictures of lifted flaps instead of flaps to lift. This works very well and we see what we're meant to see at the proper time. It's usual for 'where do babies come from' books to start with 'lesser' animals and leave humans till last; whether out of coyness or out of respect for 'evolution's masterpiece' isn't clear, but that's the general pattern. This one does it the other way round, so that on page three a happily pregnant woman's outer layer is peeled back to reveal womb and foetus within, followed by a equally happy dog, pony, and porcupine to show anatomical differences. Usefully the wallaby's pouch gets a page before we finish with bird and reptile eggs and proud father sea-horse. As with the publisher's earlier Toy, this is a particularly apt subject for the 'What's Inside?' treatment, for the question engages us all, thus raising the answers above those provided by the rest of the series. The text is slight and has its facile moments but its main purpose is to act as a prop to the adults with whom children look at this book, for this is definitely sharing material for infants and young juniors. It should work well, too, with less able older children.