Mummy Laid an Egg!
Publisher: Random House
This facts-of-life book won best illustrated children's book at the British book awards in 2000 and has since been translated into 73 languages - so it's fair to say Cole's witty, honest take on childhood inquisitiveness and 'the birds and the bees' has become a classic, despite its controversial subject matter.
Where do babies come from? Mum suggests that you can make babies out of gingerbread, grow them from seeds or squeeze them out of tubes, while dad posits you can find them under rocks. Their children decide to set the record straight and, with the aid of a few helpful diagrams, show their parents exactly what's what.
Cole's humour is characteristically zany, while the illustrations are as beautiful and quirky as ever. The book's honesty about daddy's 'seed-tube' and Mummy's 'hole' might engender some awkward questions, but Cole firmly believed in children's right to knowledge about their own bodies and the accompanying pictures are never vulgar.
Indeed, the imagery of Mummy Laid an Egg can be stored as a springboard for discussions with older children about periods, contraception and puberty. All things considered, it's more likely to discomfort parents than children themselves, who simply revel in the prospect of getting one over the adults…