Last week I talked about The Dangerous Book for Boys. This week it's the girls' turn, with The Daring Book for Girls, a sister volume. Using the same old-fashioned design sensibility and tone, this book offers girls their own hodgepodge handbook with essential tools for a toolbox, how to paddle a canoe, math tricks, silly pranks to play on friends, slumber party games, cat's cradle, how to pop a wheelie on your bike, how to write a thank-you letter, flower pressing - wait, this is my own childhood!
As I suggested in my review of the boys' book, having a wide and eclectic set of skills and knowledge may contribute to having a strong internal locus of control - the profound assurance that one is up to the challenges that life presents. Studies on fear show that a lack of control is one of the things that contributes to stress and anxiety. The more things you know how to control, the less you are a prey to fear. You can't control the tides, but knowing how to read a tide chart and why the tides change at all can make a difference in a day at the beach; you can't be injury-proof, but knowing first-aid may take the edge off of panic what an accident happens. What looks like courage is often basic competence. Maybe you don't know how to tie a sari yourself, or how to make a peach pit ring. But give this book to your daughter and she'll learn how.
Just as there was little in the Dangerous Book that seemed very dangerous, there's little here that seems very daring, unless you think changing a tire or opening a lemonade stand takes daring. Do your daughter a favor. Dare her to read this book.