Forget bedtime stories featuring "Winnie the Pooh" or "The Cat in the Hat"; one new children's book stars mommy — and her new nose job.
"My Beautiful Mommy," written by Florida-based plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Salzhauer, is billed by its author as the first book that explains plastic surgery to kids, an issue with which he says many of his patients struggle.
"More than half the women that come in for procedures bring their children with them," he said. "And most parents go into denial about the surgery with regard to their children."
"My Beautiful Mommy" focuses on a mother explaining an impending nose job and tummy tuck to her young daughter, who is scared that her mommy may look different. Mommy also undergoes a breast enhancement in the book, a fact depicted only through the illustrations so as not to get too graphic for child readers.
While some may jump to say that any tale about cosmetic surgery — breast, nose or tummy — isn't appropriate reading material for young kids, many members of the plastic surgery community are welcoming the new-age bedtime story. Some say they just wish they'd thought of the book idea first.
"It's a narrow niche, but there is a need for it," said N.Y.-based plastic surgeon Dr. Darrick Antell, who said he had considered writing a similar book before he heard about Salzhauer's. "There are patients who frequently will ask what they should tell their kids when they're bruised for a few days."
"Plastic surgery today is much more out of the closet than it was years ago, people are much more open about it," said Antell, who said he isn't concerned the book will send the wrong message to children. "While it's clearly not for everyone, when a person has decided they want to go ahead and improve their appearance, they want to introduce it into the family setting so the child won't be concerned."
Salzhauer said the book can help families prepare for the recovery time women need after plastic surgery.
"When mom goes down everyone in the house is effected — especially the kids," said Salzhauer, who added that many kids get upset when their mother seems sick or too tired to play. "They know something is going on and she has bandages, so they start to ask, 'What's wrong with mommy?'"
That's exactly the question Salzhauer's book tries to answer, chronicling the journey of a mother and her child as they visit the fictional office of the fictional, strapping "Dr. Michael" for cosmetic surgery.
"Why are you going to look different?" asks the daughter of her mother in the car ride back from the doctor's office.
"Not just different, my dear — prettier!" exclaims the mother.
When prodded by her daughter as to why she's getting an operation — after all, the girl says, she's already "the prettiest mommy in the whole wide world" — the mom explains how her clothes don't fit properly anymore because of her stretched out stomach, presumably a result of childbirth.
By the end of the story, the mother's formerly wrinkled tummy and crooked nose are flat and straight and, despite never saying anything about her chest in the plot, the mother's breasts appear perkier too.