Archive for August 11th, 2007

Great Big Glorious Book for SchoolsDespite complaints that The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls is nothing more than an instruction manual for recreating a 1950s childhood for girls only, it does have something to recommend it. The book includes Virginia Woolf in its section on inspirational women. And in my book, girls and boys everywhere should be advised to look to VW for inspiration.

The tome, which has hit the top of the list of nonfiction best sellers in the U.K., was written by Rosemary Davidson and Sarah Vine. The authors defend their approach and their subject matter by explaining that girls get immense pleasure out of knowing how to make things from scratch — from pom poms to daisy chains to cupcakes — and their book helps them learn how. Others have roundly mocked and spoofed GBGBG, as it’s known for short.

The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls is seen as the female version of  The Dangerous Book for Boys, which was a huge hit in Britain last year and is now available in the U.S. It, too, has been criticized as sexist. And both have been described as nothing more than gift books that appeal to adults because of their nostalgia factor.

I don’t know why publishers feel obliged to mark — and market — these books for specific genders. Why not The Great Big Glorious Book for Kids? Or The Dangerous Book for Girls and Boys?

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