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The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls, Revised Edition Paperback – March 26, 2012
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What I like about the book:
It is simply written and easy for a younger girl to understand. It talks about puberty in a mostly positive way. It has fun illustrations that would appeal to my daughter and does talk about all bodies being different and so on, BUT…
What I DON’T like about the book:
As of now my daughter has a very positive self/body image. She is very comfortable in the skin she is in. From my observations, most girls in the target age of this book, 8-11, haven’t quite gotten the message yet that they should be looking critically at their own bodies or judge others for how they look. If they read this book, though, they WILL be exposed to these concepts. While my daughter does have a positive self-image at the moment and we have worked hard to cultivate that, I also know (and remember) how fragile that can be at the tween stage and the power of suggestion is huge at this age.
Here are some examples:
My daughter has a beautiful speckling of freckles across her nose. Most people around her have commented that they love them. SHE loves them. She said to me a few months ago that she wished she had MORE freckles. In this book, on page 36: “I have freckles. I hate them and wish I could get some lotion that would make my freckles go away. I need help!” While she loves her freckles, I could see reading this she may start to question how she feels about them. I could imagine her thinking, “Wait, are freckles considered to be ugly?”
Page 50-51, three questions are about girls’ insecurities of having a flat chest, then this one: “I have bigger boobs than all of my friends. Because of this, my friends are embarrassed to be around me because they think I’m very ugly and fat. I used to be very popular, but now I find myself dorky and lonely.” Yikes! Really?? I developed breasts earlier than my friends and was definitely insecure about them, wearing large shirts, etc., but NEVER did I ever think my friends wouldn’t like me because of them. The message that people may not like you because of anything having to do with your physical appearance is horrible. I know it is rampant in our culture, but I really would like to keep my young daughter from being exposed to this idea as long as I can. I realize the book is trying to prevent these kinds of thoughts, but the question in itself may get girls wondering and thinking about these things, not to mention re-enforcing the message that if you are fat, you are unlikable.
In the same vain, pages 62-63, titled Body Talk, all four questions from girls are about how other girls are thinner; how to stay thin; how to get thinner; and comparing your own body to your friends'. Talk about re-enforcing the idea that thin is ideal! I know the answers talk about all bodies being different and not to compare yourself, but these questions themselves might get our daughters thinking about whether they are thin enough and that it is normal to compare their bodies to their friends'. Yes, I realize she will face these issues at some point. I just feel there is no need to get these thoughts going at such an early age.
This is getting so long, but just know there are other parts in the book talking about comparing yourself to others physically; calling someone pizza face because of acne; insecurities if you haven’t gotten your period yet and are not considered a “woman” like your friends, etc. Again, I know that these are presented as questions and the book is telling the girls not to do those things or feel these ways, but the power of suggestion is so strong.
I wish there was a simple book about bodily changes/puberty which I could read to an eight year old girl without going in to explicit details about sex. This book would be much better if it just stuck to the facts about physical changes during puberty, how to take care of yourself, etc. and left out the question/answer section. The questions seem more appropriate for the second book for older girls (if even), not the target age of this book. I saw one recommendation in another review for "Reaching for the Moon," by Lucy H. Pearce. I will try that and then leave an update here.
My daughter is in no way embarrassed by her body, but this book over and over again tells her over and over again to not be embarrassed. We know that these tween years are the years that will erode self confidence for our girls - I really feel like this book will feed into that.
It plants seeds that freckles may be ugly and that other kids will make fun of your breasts and/or braces. Apparently, you're also going to have halitosis as you get older and provides a two page spread about how to shave those hairy legs. Girls need to really to screw up their courage to talk to their parents about needing a bra. It just made me really sad to read.
While the technical information is correct and I really liked some of the instructional material about using pads and choosing bras, the approach to a girl's emotional needs certainly feels like it was written 20 years ago. Even if your daughter *is* embarrassed about her changing body, I still wonder if this would provide a new punch list of concerns for her. I'm surprised that this is still such a popular book.
I will upload a picture of the very first page. On it, you can see that it is written to be upbeat, but there's an underlying theme of self doubt and being embarrassed by these changes. The same tone continues throughout the entire book. It is not for us.
We have settled on _What's happening to me?_ by Usborne, which had a much more matter of fact approach to what is happening, with very similar content.
The book has definitely given her the courage to talk about something she was very unsure about. She understands her body now and is actually excited about the changes taking place (I was NOT as a child BUT no one gave me a book like this or talked to me about anything!). I think the book has given her courage to ask questions and even given her vocabulary about the issues she otherwise wasn't sure how to articulate, if that makes sense. I think it also made her aware of other changes that she was not even aware about. No matter how you decide to use this book or other material it is imperative that you not embarrass or belittle your child. It is also imperative that you are there for them and answer questions appropriately and honestly. If I ever feel that something is inappropriate to talk about then I honestly tell them, "This isn't something that is appropriate right now but we will talk about it soon!" And then don't go back on your promise.
Some pretty funny "kids say the darndest things" moments have also happened because of the book. She knows that these are private topics that stay at home so she's very comfortable saying things to us that might make others blush or stutter. I won't go into that here but I'm chuckling right now as I type this, thinking of the things she's said!
Finally I want to mention that we're a super conservative Christian family. I found nothing in this book that I felt was perverse or misguided or inappropriate. It is merely an anatomical book about changes that happen in early puberty. God created these wonderful bodies of ours and it's important to understand the changes *before* they happen. If there's something in ANY book that we don't exactly agree with then we use it as a teaching moment and explain that some people think dealing with emotions or friends "this way" is okay but this is how our family chooses to do it. If I am made aware of a serious problem in a book or one that is most definitely not Godly then we discard it but this book was well written and we've been pleased in how it has helped build our daughter's confidence in an uncertain and sometimes scary time in a young girl's life! We will be getting the version for older girls when she's a little older.
Most recent customer reviews
Positives: It's very informational and covers all of the "big hitter" topics.Read more