Sunday, November 18, 2007

MomCat Reviews: I DARE You to Read This Book!


In the past, I have quickly jumped on my soapbox and written about how normal little rough-and-tumble boys seem to be no longer socially acceptable in today's world. So, when I got the chance to read and review The Dangerous Book for Boys earlier this year, I was elated! Here was a book, that embraced all the little things that boys are most often made of--including secret codes, go-carts, fishing, and fossils.

Well, I’m back again. And, this time, I have the girls in mind. Because while I joined in the praise of the Dangerous book, I, like many a female reviewer, was left with the nagging question —hey, what about the girls???

I was raised by a mother who believed in girl power, long before the silly Spice Girls came to fruition. Girls can do anything that boys can do. Period. That's what I was taught and still believe today. So, it seems only fair that we have our own book of adventure too. Well, thanks to authors Andrea J. Buchanan (of MotherTalk fame) and Miriam Peskowitz (The Truth behind the Mommy Wars), girl power lives on. And, also thankfully, The Daring Book for Girls, is more than just a copy-cat of the boys' version.

I was surprised by the content, actually. Because not only is the Daring Book filled with things that interest all kids, like my 8-year-old son’s favorite section on “How to Make a Scooter,” but it opens the reader's eyes to a ton of great traditions and activities from around the world. And, that is probably my favorite part of the book—it's multicultural tone. Now, I can learn how to tie a sari, how to play Chinese jump rope (which is entirely different from jumping rope in American culture), and what I might discover on a safari to Africa.

The book does tackle the more girly of topics, such as: Putting Your Hair up with a Pencil, making Daisy Chains and Ivy Crowns, and learning about real-life Princesses Today. But, there are plenty of things in there for the sporty gals too, such as Climbing, How to Be a Spy, and Fourteen Games of Tag. (And, be sure to check out the website for a special little nugget important for any growing young prankster--How to Short Sheet a Bed!)

What I love about both of these adventure books is that they give parents a tool to engage with their children in something that perhaps they used to do as a kid, or maybe even something new that they missed out on in childhood. It's a guide to doing things with your kids and having fun, beyond the normal playtime or everyday crafts and games.

Both books can grow with the children as well. I gave The Dangerous Book for Boys to my 13-year-old nephew for his birthday, because I knew he’d love reading all the chapters on historical war battles and learning how to engineer things like a bow and arrow. But, I’m now giving The Daring Book for Girls to my 10-year-old niece for Christmas too. I know she’ll love chapters on creating your own "Secret Garden," palm reading, and hand-clapping games (who can forget "Miss Susie Steamboat" from elementary school days! HELL-O operator?) Meanwhile, at night I can read chapters from both books to my son and have them attractively displayed on our bookshelves for my 3-year-old daughter when she’s old enough for adventures.

If this doesn't given you enough of a glimpse into why I love The Daring Book for Girls, check out this short video and the Parent Bloggers Network for more great reviews. And, don’t think because the title has the word “girl” in it, that you are too old OR the wrong sex to join in the fun. I say, it is high time we get a little more daring, my friends!

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