Tuesday, November 13, 2007

MotherTalk Review: The Daring Book for Girls

The game I remember most from my childhood was four-square at recess. It was so popular the school had three four-square games painted on the blacktop, with one game of two-square, too. Kids would line up for a chance to get in on the games, with one of the painted box games always reserved for the top players. I was pretty good at the game, but not one of the top players.

Eventually, I found even more exciting things to do with my recess time, including climbing trees, befriending squirrels, and pretending to be a great detective. I never joined in on the games of house that many girls played. Too boring for me - I needed excitement, not drama!

Now that I'm the mother of two girls, I find myself thinking of so many things I want to teach them from my childhood. I used to jot down notes here and there, reminding myself about games I played and places I visited that I want them to know about, too.

I can throw out some of those notes, because now there is a book that contains many of these secrets. The Daring Book for Girls, written by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz, is a summary of some of the best information a young girl needs for having a fun childhood and growing into a strong woman.

I knew I was going to like this book when I read the very first page. Among the items the authors list as Essential Gear for a girl are duct tape and a Swiss Army knife. Right there I knew this wasn't going to be a book about tea parties and make-up tips. (Thank goodness!)

Instead, the authors cover a wide variety of topics, with more "girly" stuff right next to stuff that might have given a girl from my youth the label of "tomboy". Seeing how I lived up to that tomboy label as a child, I really enjoyed reading through such topics as building a campfire, making a lemon-powered clock, and knot tying. To be honest, I never knew how to tie good knots - had I known that information as a girl, my makeshift tent for my backyard camping expedition might have remained up all night, instead of nearly smothering me in the middle of the night.

Not only can you learn the best sleepover games and how to make friendship bracelets (see? I said there was some "girly" stuff there, too!), the book also covers topics that will stay with a girl her entire life. Topics we should all know, like how to negotiate a salary, basic first aid, and how to change a tire.

Plus, along with all of the awesome how-to's are several pages detailing famous women from history, including scientists, leaders, and even pirates. There are also lessons on language, giving you a taste of French and Spanish, along with looking for the Greek or Latin root of many English words.

Writing a quick summary of what this book is about is hard to do, because it contains so much. Some pages are filled with fun and frivolous information, others serious and very important, but the transitions between them are effortless and create a well-blended book.

The Daring Book for Girls is the perfect book for any free-spirited girl who would just as soon climb a tree as play with dolls. While my two girls are too young for this book at the moment, I will be sharing this with them as they grow older. I know I'll be reading them stories of famous women, and then in later years pointing them to the book to find an activity whenever the words "I'm bored!" escape their lips.

Maybe they'll decide they want to make sit-upons, just like their mother made at Girl Scout camp. Or maybe they'll want to play four-square, in which case I'll gladly join them for a game. Thanks to MotherTalk for giving me the chance to review a book that will get so much use in our home.

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