Controversy over new children's book

April 28, 2008 9:25:45 AM PDT
There's a new children's book out, but it's not your usual bedtime story. It's about what happens to mommy when she decides to have plastic surgery. There's a lot of controversy surrounding this book.

The author is a plastic surgeon in Florida. He insists he originally wrote this just for his patients and he says he had no idea it would get this big or create this kind of reaction. He says it's just meant to be cute and fun and helpful.

The stuff that makes up children's books: love, sharing, puppies -- plastic surgery?

"This is not like 'Goodnight Moon,'" said Michael Salzhauer, M.D., author.

But it is a children's book. Plastic surgeon Michael Salzhauer knows children's books - his wife is pregnant with the couple's fifth child. He says he wrote this one about when a mommy has plastic surgery because he found his patients weren't doing a good job talking to their kids about what was happening.

"Kids have come into my office and said is mommy dying?" said Salzhauer.

His story, 'My Beautiful Mommy,' focuses on a mom who is getting a nose job and a tummy tuck. The book makes it all sound very simple and of course has a happy ending.

"I love the book because it's exactly what moms go through," said Carolyn Chang, M.D., plastic surgeon.

San Francisco plastic surgeon Carolyn Chang says it hits the mark. Most of her patients are moms looking to lift and tuck the areas of their bodies affected by childbirth.

"They always say 'what am I going to tell my daughter?'" said Dr. Chang.

But what the mommy tells her daughter in the book is where the book gets controversial. The backlash has been harsh.

"The girls on 'The View' gave it two thumbs down. I was definitely surprised by the reaction," said Salzhauer.

The internet has lit up with criticism, some calling it crazy, disgusting or pathetic. Even Dr. Chang takes issue with the part where the mommy says her nose will not only be different, but prettier.

"But my 8-year-old would have said 'why do you need your nose straighter?' And then what you would have to answer is - 'what I really want to do is make my nose prettier.' Because that's the truth," said Salzhauer.

"My first impression of it was - is this a joke?" said Tara Uziel, mom.

Tara Uziel will not be reading it to her kids. When she got her mommy makeover, she just kept the explanation very simple.

"Mommy's getting better, mommy doesn't feel good - very vague and that was fine," said Uzeil.

But her kids are 1 and 3-years-old. Annette Hixson had a lot more explaining to do. Her 7-year-old son wanted to know why mommy had to stay in bed for a week, couldn't drive and had to wear an ace bandage around her stomach.

"Had I known there was a book out there, I would have been really happy about reading it, especially to my older son Joshua," said Annette Hixson, mom.

The book does explain that mommy will need help lifting heavy things and will need her rest.

"I think it's perfect, I think it's wonderful and very appropriate to have at the doctor's office right away," said Hixson.

But some plastic surgeons, like Dr. Scott Mosser in San Franciso, will not be giving their patients "My Beautiful Mommy."

"In the end I think that we have a book that is a relatively disturbing portrayal of beauty and the concept of perfection," said Scott Mosser, M.D., plastic surgeon.

With pictures that give the mommy a Barbie doll type body and the doctor a superhero look, Dr. Mosser just isn't impressed.

"I could imagine a child taking this book and end up thinking - what if I'm not pretty enough" said Dr. Mosser.

Dr. Salzhauer says he didn't intend to start a debate on plastic surgery - pointing out that this is for mom's who have already decided to have the procedure.

"This book is a really useful tool and I've gotten nothing but positive feedback from my own patients," said Dr. Salzhauer.

Whether you want to buy it or protest it - the book comes out on Mother's Day.


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