Review Detail

Learning Life Skills
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)  
 
5.0
Learning Value 
 
4.0
This starts with a list of things every ten year old needs, like a library card, a calendar, and a key chain, as well as teaser items like crickets and some vegetable soup. My favorite pages involved doing useful stuff; laundry, cooking, and making a backyard salad (my mother would NOT have been thrilled with that one!). There is also a lot of information that can be filed under social emotional learning, like what to do if someone has a crush on you (which I wouldn't have put first in the book), what to do if you don't like your name, and how to be a really good friend. My favorite section was the one on finding a secret lair; even though I was lucky enough to have my own room growing up, I was particularly fond of hiding out under the built in desk in my room, with a blanket strung across the drawers!

From an educational perspective, I sort of wish there had been a table of contents and an index, and that the book had been arranged into chapters of broad categories; life skills, food and cooking, emotions, outdoors, etc., because learning to use those parts of a book is yet another skill children need, but young readers will be fine with the way the information is arranged.

The sections on cyber safety, being at home alone, and what to do if you are followed are handled in an age appropriate way that won't scare young readers, while gently making them aware of being careful. There are a couple of brief explanations of lulling pranks that I, as an adult, didn't much care for; if my children had wasted perfectly good vegetable soup pretending it was vomit, it wouldn't have ended well. In general, though, this is a graphically pleasing compendium of interesting stuff.

This would make an excellent gift for someone turning ten, along with a box with some of the more exotic supplies that parents might be less likely to provide, like drink umbrellas, deodorant, a black light, and even some baked or fried crickets! (Or cricket based snacks, like those from the authors of Project Startup, Chirps.
Good Points
My daughter recently reminded me that I once told her the best day of your entire life is the first day of summer vacation when you are ten. This isn't entirely wrong. Ten year olds are just about human, and are tall enough to complete most tasks around the house. They are still excited to learn new things and take on more responsibilities. I would have loved this book when I was ten, because I would have doggedly worked my way through every activity in this. Today's children often crave more direction when they are not involved with screens, so this would be a good book for actual ten year olds as well!
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