Daring and dangerous

It’s been a while since I did a Tuesday book review, and I realized that I never commented on the Daring Book for Girls.  It’s a nice book, with a mixture of traditional girls’ activities (double dutch, cats cradle, slumber parties), not so traditional activities (karate, campfires), practical skills (first aid, changing a tire, basic money management) and straight-up feminism (bios of women scientists and spies and a bunch of queens).  If I had a daughter, I’d give it to her with much less reservation than I have in giving my sons the companion Dangerous book.

In fact, I mostly left the Daring book wishing that Miriam and Andi had gotten to do the book for boys as well as for girls.  Fundamentally, if the Daring book is a throwback to the 70s, the Dangerous book is a throwback much further, perhaps to Teddy Roosevelt’s youth.  And it seems a lot more useful for my sons to know how to change a tire or balance a checkbook than to make their own bow and arrows.

2 Responses to “Daring and dangerous”

  1. Kai Jones Says:

    I guess I understand privileging teaching kids practical skills that you believe they will actually use over skills that seem to you only fun rather than useful, but even with that approach, my question is why we give girls a book with practical stuff and boys one with fun stuff? Girls don’t get to have fun? Girls have more need for practical skills? (Why? Is it that no one will teach them practical skills?)

  2. Chris Says:

    There is fun stuff, depending on your idea of fun. My 10-year-old daughter and a friend of hers are using the Daring Book’s instructions for making a lemon clock this weekend. They have made a list of what they’ll need, divided it fairly by what they think they already have in each household and what they will need to buy, and even flipped a coin to see whose house they will make it at.
    Of course, they recently had to make a campfire and cook on it to pass their winter survival course with adult supervision but no adult assistance, so they seem tailor-made for this book. Which is no doubt why my sister-in-law sent it for Christmas.

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