Poppy Pretzel

Passage into Puberty

Children - Preteen
160 Pages
Reviewed on 06/07/2012
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Laurie Gray for Readers' Favorite

“Poppy Pretzel: Passage into Puberty” by Debi Slinger begins with Poppy, a 12-year-old in Australia, getting her period at school on a Wednesday afternoon. Fortunately, she has been carrying a little purse containing a pad, tampon, a spare pair of knickers (underwear), and some hand wipes with her ever since her friend Nina got her period. The story follows Poppy over the course of several months as she learns all about feminine hygiene and feminine hygiene products by talking with her mother (Pip), her mother’s friend (Missy), her own friends (“The Mermaid Girls”), and her cousin (Zoe). At the end of the book, Slinger includes a list of online resources from Australia, the U.S.A. and the U.K., as well as a “Certificate of Celebration” that young girls can use to record their first periods and “Poppy’s Bag Checklist” to make sure that girls on the brink of their own passage into puberty are well-prepared for this important life event.

I applaud the concept, openness and quality of information presented through Poppy’s fictional passage into puberty. The text is quite explicit, but consistently appropriate for girls aged 10-15. The story appears overly didactic at times because it is more about preparing girls for their first period than about character or plot development. Australian punctuation, spelling, sports and slang will make this a tough sale in the U.S.A. For example, Poppy places a pad in the gusset of her knickers and decides it feels like a nappy. The Mermaid Girls play netball which requires them to wear bibs. And Pip is always up for a good natter while she makes her Anzac biscuits. An Americanized version might be necessary to reach its intended audience in the United States.