It occurs to me that on or about November 9 of this year, I will be the proud owner of a baby girl. This is somewhat disconcerting. My wife and every other female that I’ve ever come into contact with will confirm this: I know shit-all about females. (Well, that’s not entirely true; I know that all females like Grey’s Anatomy, and yet they all hate Meredith Grey. It makes no sense.)

We gave a hearty thumbs-up to The Dangerous Book for Boys a while back, and now, just in time for me, comes its sister volume (Damn- that was Gene Shalit Clever!), The Daring Book for Girls. Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz take inspiration from Conn and Hal Iggulden; the book’s stellar design mirrors its predecessor, and offers the same sort of lore that (presumably – again, it’s me here) all little girls require. There are chapters on pressing flowers, putting up one’s hair with a pencil, proper sari-tying, jumping rope (regular and double-dutch), and, of course, boys (who “can be excellent friends. In general, they like to do things, and that makes them rather fun”).

And yes, the book is daring, in the sense that what we often think of as “girly” isn’t necessarily so. For starters, the cover is blue. Number One on the book’s list of Essential Gear for girls? A Swiss Army knife. A treatise on basketball is the book’s second chapter. Want to learn how to do a karate chop? Turn to page 81. There are essays on famous women spies, places to see in Africa, how to maintain a toolkit, reading tide charts. Clearly this book will not be on Insitut Villa Pierrefeu’s required reading list. Which would be a shame, because Buchanan and Peskowitz certainly give girls of all ages (and their occasionally clueless dads) a fun, inspirational and inspired guidebook.

(As Whit indicates in his previous review, we’re lucky to get these books sent to us for free. Well, turns out I received two copies of The Daring Book for Girls. So what I thought I’d is, I’ll give one away to a lucky DadCentric reader. But you gotta earn it. Email me ( and tell me the one thing that every girl needs to know and why. I’ll post the winning answer this Friday.)