Larry Gonick has done it again! If you've read any of his Cartoon Guides and liked them, you'll like this one too. Co-authored with Christine DeVault and copyright 1999, it is full of his usual friendly informal cartoons, entertaining characters, cheerful & humorous perspective, and frank, sensitive handling of delicate and serious subjects.
As a book about sex, it's a good introduction, with a broad scope. It touches on anatomy, gender issues, love, communication, health and STDs, birthcontrol, homosexuality, sex as part of nature, and even rape. It doesn't go into anything in great depth, but that's clearly not its purpose, and even for a general book, it covers a lot of ground. It does focus very much on the present and on western culture.
The drawings are healthily explicit, but not what I would call graphic, since they're in Gonick's cheerful, informal cartoon style. The guides through the book are "mother nature" and the "etiqueette elf," a nice touch.
What makes this book exceptional as a book about sex is that it IS a cartoon guide. It's the only book about sex that I think I would have felt comfortable asking my parents for or being seen reading in a bookstore back when I was first hitting puberty (age 11) and very shy about it. It's probably the least awkward book about sex that I can imagine a parent giving a child, or a family having just lying around the house. I think it'd be a wonderful icebreaker for young and/or shy couples who are romantically involved and really ought to have a conversation about sexuality... if you can't yet talk easily about sex with your partner, you could probably still get up the nerve to say "Hey, check it out, it's a cartoon book about sex!" and start reading it together and see how things go from there... it covers relevant topics like using condoms properly (and why it's really important that you do), how serious sexually transmitted diseases are, and of course, how important it is to talk to your partner about sex!
Lastly, I think it'd be a good book-about-sex for people who don't really like to read very much. Not overly wordy or intimidating, not overly serious or condescending (or written specifically for teens), and lots of fun to read or browse. I'm tickled that it was written and I hope it fulfills its potential as a valuable tool in the effort to educate.