"My Beautiful Mommy" is aimed at kids ages four to seven and features a plastic surgeon named Dr. Michael (a musclebound superhero type) and a girl whose mother gets a tummy tuck, a nose job and breast implants. Before her surgery the mom explains that she is getting a smaller tummy: "You see, as I got older, my body stretched and I couldn't fit into my clothes anymore. Dr. Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better." Mom comes home looking like a slightly bruised Barbie doll with demure bandages on her nose and around her waist.
The text doesn't mention the breast augmentation, but the illustrations intentionally show Mom's breasts to be fuller and higher. "I tried to skirt that issue in the text itself," says Salzhauer. "The tummy lends itself to an easy explanation to the children: extra skin and can't fit into your clothes. The breasts might be a stretch for a six-year-old."
The book doesn't explain exactly why the mother is redoing her nose post-pregnancy. Nonetheless, Mom reassures her little girl that the new nose won't just look "different, my dear—prettier!"
I love how the surgeon has made himself to be some chiselled Greek god in the book.
I won't judge women who resort to plastic surgery -- it's a personal choice, albeit one that requires a certain amount of risk and quite a lot of money. But I do wonder about the message mothers who frequently undergo plastic surgery send to their daughters. It is one thing to have the odd nip and tuck when you're middle-aged and saggy, quite another when you're swapping implants every five years. You could end up with a daughter who wants a boob job for her thirteenth birthday.