I love this book more than words can say. I loved The Dangerous Book for Boys, and now I love the companion, The Daring Book for Girls. Written by Andi Buchannan and Miriam Peskowitz, the founders of MotherTalk, this book is a fantastic compilation of many of the parts I loved about childhood — with a generous helping of history, geography, slumber party games and girl traditions added in for good measure.
The book opens with a list of essential gear. The first ones, Swiss Army Knife, bandana, rope and twine, have been recognized as essential by any adventurous boy or girl for decades. But the reminder is nice. The list continues with journal and pencil — awesome addition! — and a hair band “for when hair gets in the way.” Oooh, nicely done. I love also that they include flashlight, compass, safety pins (check out the dual uses!), duck tape, deck of cards, a good book, and patience. Oh yeah. This sets the tone nicely. A mixture of “girl stuff” and “boy stuff” and an all-around good idea for the adventurous kid.
From basketball to hopscotch, jump rope to fourteen games of tag, there are rules and diagrams for plenty of outdoor group games here, but there are also quieter outdoor pursuits, like building a clubhouse or making daisy chains and ivy crowns. There’s a bit about math, an introduction to Robert’s Rules of Order (useful in those clubhouses, as I remember), how to negotiate a salary, and how to negotiate “who’s it” before a game of tag. Like the boys’ book, there are sections on knots and science experiments, but there’s also a page on how to put your long hair up with a stick. How to make a tree swing, creating friendship bracelets, what do do with vinegar and baking soda, carving a willow whistle, bird watching, paddling a canoe, and hiking are all great sections in this book.
Fascinating bits in history and geography are integrated in this book as naturally as the rest, with a twist to be interesting to all kinds of girls: Princesses Today, Queens of the Ancient World, Spanish Terms of Endearment, South Sea Islands, Going to Africa, Joan of Arc, Women Inventors and Scientists, Pirates, Explorers, Women Spies (and how to become one), and Modern Women Leaders. Yes, it’s girl-centric. Yes, that’s discriminatory to the boys who have also contributed to the modern world and might put boys off. But I think that’s actually okay, as history books are still shy of examples of female leaders and scientists, and we still have to fix that. The section on boys is somewhat better than the Dangerous Book for Boys’ section on girls, but still too short and not incredibly necessary for this book.
This book aims to appeal to a wide age and temperament range of girls. There are sections on handclap games, cootie catchers, writing in cursive, and jumping rope, there are also sections of this book for girls to “grow into,” such as sections on negotiating a salary and changing a tire. But all will enjoy the list of books that will change your life (put unfortunately at the end). I recognized almost all of those books as ones that I loved as well; they would form a great base for any girl. Or boy.
This is a great book and would make a great holiday present for any girl. Amazon.com is even selling the two books as a set for $29.95 … wouldn’t that be a great addition to the family bookshelf? My boys will find BOTH books under the tree this year. And we ALL will have a great time exploring the traditional and new pasttimes of childhood.
This review done as part of MotherTalk’s Blog Book Tour.