Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Daring Book for Girls

I admit I was a little suspicious when I got The Daring Book for Girls in the mail to review. The problem with the similarly titled Dangerous Book for Boys is that its faux nostalgia implies that feminists are probably to blame for creating a world in which boys don't know how to tie knots or skip rocks or other stereotypically "boy" things. I find the very concept absurd.
So, when this book came in the mail, with it's retro green cover and silver lettering, I was prepared to be annoyed. But here's the thing: before I could get all riled up with righteous indignation at a world that still insists on making arbitrary distinctions between boys and girls, Frances got a hold of the book. As a general rule she is suspicious of anything too "girly," perceiving a surplus of pink and glitter and saccharine sentiment as sure signs of something not fun. But this book intrigued her. It showed her five karate moves, how to press flowers (which she thought would make cool bookmarks), how to play zombie and hot-lava monster tag, how to play the French version of hopscotch (which involves a snail shaped playing field and a lot of hopping on one foot--"the French really know how to live," Frances said), and how to make her own scooter. I don't know if Frances finds the instructions here "daring," but if the authors' (Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz) intentions were to introduce girls to the self-made fun from girlhood past (remember the jump rope song, "Apples on a stick, make me sick..."), then they have succeeded.


Deborah Siegel said...

So good to know your take -- and Frances'!! It's interesting to me that many feministy reviewers so far cringe, but then come around. But nothing like getting a girl's opinion, which I don't always have direct access to, so thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'd be suspicious of this book, too, but Frances' review makes me think my girls would like it, particularly my 9-year old, who sounds like she shares Frances' preferences (and does indeed love monkeys).


Goodnight, Mom said...

I also reviewed this book. I thought, too, it was terrific and had the same reservations you did prior to its arrival. Anyway, great review and I loved your website. I'll be checking back here for sure. Your kids are adorable.