On the heels of the best-selling The Dangerous Book for Boys comes a version for the opposite sex, The Daring Book for Girls. Arranged like a manual, complete with badges ˆ la the Girl Scouts, this guidebook by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz is for both young girls and the young at heart.

Many of the entries are distinctly female, from putting your hair up with a pencil, tying a sari and pressing flowers (which mixes daintiness with power tools ) to double-Dutch jump rope, friendship bracelets and slumber party games. The authors have also included brief histories on queens of the ancient world and modern-day princesses, as well as female leaders, inventors, scientists, Olympians, spies and pirates.

History is important, but 21st-century girls must also keep up with the times. The Daring Book for Girls includes math tricks, karate moves and information on assembling Every Girl's Tool Box and changing a tire. Of course, this is a book about being daring, and who wouldn't feel more so after reading about paddling a canoe, going to Africa, negotiating a salary and dealing with boys ( In general, they like to do things, and that makes them rather fun. ). While the authors aim to spark adventure, imagination and resourcefulness, they always maintain a tongue-in-cheek humor, echoing the tone of the boys' version. Buchanan and Peskowitz encourage girls to take on these challenges, but not to take them all too seriously. Isn't that what girlhood is all about? Angela Leeper lives and writes daringly in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

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