Every so often I get a request to do book reviews through a blog called Mother Talk. Their tag-line is “When mothers talk, great things happen.” Well, I’m not sure how I got on their email list (other than the fact that half the people who read my blog for the first time think I’m a mom) but when I saw the chance to review the book The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz, I figured that as a father of a young girl, I needed all the help I could get. So I signed up for the book tour. After being accepted, I was told that out of the 100+ bloggers reviewing this book, I am the only male. No pressure.
The Daring Book for Girls, is a big, blue book that when opened reminds me of an old school textbook or even an old Boy Scouts Manual. The book jumps around from the rules of basketball (and, to be frank, it appears the authors are not too familiar with the game of basketball) to how to tie knots, do cartwheels or how to make your very own “cootie catcher.”
The book lacks real flow as it is filled with chapter after chapter of tips and information that showcase things that would be associated with being typically “girl” (such as how to make friendship bracelets) along with other areas that one might not typically associate with girls (such as the rules for the game of Darts). And maybe that’s the point. After all, these girls are supposed to be daring and daring girls don’t do typical girly stuff.
Surprisingly (at least to me, representing the male perspective), this book is pretty fascinating to read. There are great little stories about great women in history scattered throughout the book. Many of the chapters bring you back to your childhood such as being reminded of jump rope rhymes or how to make daisy chains and ivy crowns. Each chapter brings a new experience and a fun activity and really reminds one what being a young girl is and can be.
As a father trying to find ways to stay connected to his little girl, I found enough of what I was looking for to make this book a real resource. I can envision practicing Back Walk-Overs, putting her hair up with a pencil or adorning our heads with the aforementioned daisy chains and that is going to be awesome.
But even better is that this book redefines what a girl is and can be. The book itself isn’t pink, it’s blue – challenging the notion that girls have to wear pink and wear pinafores. Instead, this book challenges girls to hone their science skills through creating a lemon-powered clock, playing with vinegar and baking soda and studying the periodic table of elements. It also makes clear that learning to change a tire, negotiating a salary and even whistling with two fingers is not just for boys anymore.
The book is definitely targeted to school-aged girls and not for my little toddler. But that only means I’ve got a few years to practice my cartwheels before my daughter is ready to participate. I’ll bone up on how to raise a daring girl and I’ll be ready when she’s ready.
And my little girl will be all the better for it.
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