A while ago, Neatorama reviewed Conn and Hal Iggulden's bestseller The Dangerous Book for Boys - a manual for boys on how to rediscover fun and adventure. But what about girls? Sure, today's girls have emails, iPods, cell phones, and other things that their mothers couldn't imagine when they were young girls, but for many, something is missing.
That something is the magic of girlhood: stories, crafts, outdoor activities and plain good old fashioned fun that young girls had been doing for decades before the age of the Web. To help today's girls take a break from the digital life and recapture a little of that "magic" is Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz's book The Daring Book for Girls.
Daring picks up where Dangerous left off: the beautifully bound, blue and sparkly (yes, sparkly!) book covers over 100 topics ranging from how to play hopscotch, press a flower, make friendship bracelets, to how to build a fort (it's not just for boys, you know).
Forgot how to play Four Square? Wonder what the slumber party classic "Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board" game is all about? … And how does that campfire song "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" go again? (girls, a tip: your parents looove this song, especially if you sing it for them over and over again on long car trips!) Well, The Daring Book for Girls got you covered.
In addition to the neat how-to's, the book also has great stories about famous women in history: queens and princesses, sportswomen, explorers and inventors (excerpted on Neatorama here). It has an article about women spies (did you know that during World War I, the counter-intelligence agency MI-5 used Girl Guides - the British version of Girl Scouts - to deliver secret messages because Boy Scouts couldn't do the job properly?) The book also has a list of women pirates (think Blackbeard was tough? Read about Ching-Shih, the early 19th century commander of the infamous and undefeated Red Flag Fleet. She commanded about 1,800 ships and 80,000 pirates!)
True to its name, The Daring Book for Girls itself does a daring thing: it tries to explain the mysterious, gross and yet fascinating beings called … boys! But you have to read the book yourself to find out what. (To my daughter Maddy, who might be reading this in a few years' time: ignore boys until you're twenty five, please.)
On a personal note, this is a book I truly looked forward to reviewing. I've heard good things about it. Andi and Miriam were interviewed on the Today Show and there are tons of great reviews in the blogosphere. The book is already a bestseller (it's ranked #9 on Amazon's after just a couple of weeks on sale). When I got the book, it was readily apparent that it was not just hype: the book really delivered. This is the sort of classic book that I will keep so when my daughter is old enough, we can go over it together.
Get a FREE The Daring Book for Girls Book
Now, the good folks at HarperCollins are generously sponsoring a book giveaway. For a FREE copy of The Daring Book for Girls, visit the website and leave a comment below about your most memorable experience or activity with your mother/daughter/sister, or an advice for a fun activity you can do together with your child. Best 20 comments win. Good luck!
See also our accompanying article, an excerpt of A Short History of Women Inventors and Scientists.
This review and book giveaway are sponsored by HarperCollins.Update 11/30/07: Thank you for your comments, guys! They were amazing and it was really difficult to pick the best ones. I had emailed the winners and will get the book shipped asap. Thank you again for participating!