CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 17 . . . . April 18, 2008
Ed Avis is a writer for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Parent's Magazine and other publications, and, according to the info on yabookscentral.com, he is always on the go with his two sons, Nathan and Benjamin. No doubt those are some of the reasons Avis created this book.
As the title indicates, there are 75 ideas of things for fathers to do with their sons. They range from camping in the back yard to making a paper air force, to building a skyline with recyclables to a backyard treasure hunt. I always appreciated having a book like this at hand on a rainy day, or on a day when my brain had shut down from too much Mommy work. A quick reference like this to get your day restarted was helpful. The strength is having the ideas in one place, but the ideas can be found in other publications. There is a list of materials needed outside of the description, and many of the activities have ideas to “make it harder” or “make it easier.”
The drawbacks are: no index, inconsistent warnings of what to be careful of e.g. stinging insects but no warning on putting holes in the top of the jar for bug catching or using peanut butter. In some cases, the instructions are scant e.g. “Gear Pouch,” readers are expected to read between the lines, and some diagrams would definitely be helpful. Some of the ideas require a great deal of set-up e.g. “Boy Box.” Some have not met with success in our home in the past e.g. “Super Bubbles.” We have always had to add glycerin, not just water, to our dish soap to make it work.
Nice to encourage the father/son bond with a broad range of activities here, but there is nothing that our daughters would not like to do with their father or their mother. It would seem like Avis is unnecessarily restricting his market.
Recommended with reservations.
Ruth McMahon is a professional children’s librarian, storyteller, co-chair of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Choice Book Award, and the mother of two elementary school aged children.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.