Don’t forget that you can win a copy of one of these books in this week’s Summer Reading Weekly Book Giveaway sponsored by our friends at Barron’s Educational Series Inc. Click HERE to enter to win!
**Be sure to scroll down past our reviews to have a look at two activities from the books that we completed.**
Title: The Boy’s/Girl’s Book of Adventure: The Little Guidebook for Smart and Resourceful Boys/Girls
Authors: Michele Lecreux with Celia Gallais and Clemence Roux de Luze
Illustrators: Esao and Jocelyn Millet
Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series Inc.
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
These books are filled with great ideas for activities, crafts, and outdoor adventures that will keep kids busy throughout the year. In The Boy’s Book of Adventure some of the activities include creating secret codes, making a periscope, how to build and use a compass, making a weather vane, rain gauge, and radiometer and so much more. The Girl’s Book of Adventure includes making paper jewelry, learning to take great photographs, experimenting with the art of Furoshiki (aka the folding scarves), and creating a variety of musical instruments and lots more great ideas.
The books are hardcover with a hidden spiral spine and are filled with color illustrations and diagrams demonstrating step-by-step how to complete the activities. There is also an elastic band that stretches over the pages and that can be used as a bookmark.
My Thoughts: This is the best book ever and I want to read it every single day. I’ve already made the compass and learned to tie knots – that was a lot of fun! I really liked reading about the snakes and the rocks. Some of the things I want to try making are the periscope, building the teepee, and making the telephone. I think this book is good for all boys and some girls like my Mom.
Son's Rating: ★★★★★
My Thoughts: There are some good ideas in this book and I really like the pictures. There are a lot of different crafts and activities that I want to try, like making a hedgehog cake for dessert because it looks so good. And I also want to try to make the swing because those are really fun. I also want a camera so I can take photos. The book has a section on how to take good photos. I think girls 5 and up would like this book.
Daughter's Rating: ★★★★★
My Thoughts: When Barron’s Educational Series Inc. contacted me and asked me to have a look at The Boy’s Book of Adventure and The Girl’s Book of Adventure I literally jumped at the chance. The thought of having individual books for my son and my daughter filled with great ideas for fun stuff to do over the summer holidays was very, very attractive and these two books do not disappoint! In fact, each of my children immediately grabbed the books and took them to their bedrooms to flip through them. My son slept with his copy for one straight week. It would be an understatement to say they LOVE them!
Physically, the books themselves are very sturdy to withstand the great outdoors where they will surely be brought. The layout is very, very well done and is very kid-friendly. There are many, many illustrations and diagrams as well as simple step-by-step instructions for each of the activities. There is also a very wide range of activities with some involving building quite substantial things (e.g., a teepee), some involving small crafts and creations (e.g., a compass), and others simply providing interesting information (e.g., identifying wild flowers).
All of that being said, while I can see why it would be attractive to have gender-specific books and perhaps the activities in the books are geared toward what a parent might see as being in line with boys’ interests and girls’ interests; I also can see that my daughter, for example, would LOVE to do some of the activities in The Boy’s Book of Adventure and vice versa, my son would LOVE to do some of the activities in The Girl’s Book of Adventure. What happened in reality however is that both my son and daughter took ownership of the individual books, and heeded the warning on the covers “No Boys Allowed” and “No Girls Allowed”. So, in one sense, the books do perpetuate stereotypes of boy-appropriate and girl-appropriate activities. But, at the end of the day, we all do stuff together so we usually throw gender out the window and do it all!
My Bottom Line: I think these books are absolutely fantastic and they are literally FILLED with so many great ideas and information for fun activities and crafts. I think kids aged 8+ can do many of these activities independently and kids aged 5+ could do most of the activities with the help of a parent.
Activity From The Boy’s Books of Adventure
When my son first received the book, he wanted to do approximately 10 of the activities in the book RIGHT AWAY. We finally settled on learning how to tie ropes and we just happened to have the perfect rope with which to experiment. There is a whole section on knot-tying and the use of each type of knot. Among them are the Bowline, the Fisherman’s Bend (which we already knew because we fish), the Overhand Knot, and the Square Knot.
My son really enjoyed this activity. We began by doing it together, but once we did it, he was able to practice over and over and over until he could do them all by himself! Here is a snapshot of him tying some knots.
Activity From The Girl’s Book of Adventure
My daughter had a very difficult choice, but when she saw that she could do a photo frame of a pet, she knew immediately that this was the craft for her. As a side note, when my son found out that we were doing this craft, he really wanted to do one too! This craft requires an old CD/DVD, a case, some construction paper, scissors, glue, a photo of your choice, and a bit of imagination. We completed this craft within 20 minutes quite easily. The most difficult part was figuring out how to use my new circle cutter! Here are some photos of before and after: