Pros: The suggestions; The general format; The stickers
Cons: None come to mind
Are your kids the adventurous types? Do you spend a good deal of your time traveling and partaking in local events or visiting points of interest? If your answer is yes to either question, then you and your young ones will probably enjoy 101 Things You Gotta do Before You're 12, an adventure book by Joanne O'Sullivan
Book Facts and Figures:
101 Things You Gotta do Before You're 12 is a 144- page book consisting of a short introduction, a "How To" that explains the book, the body of the book with 101 activities, and a list of photo credits. The 101 items make up almost all of the book's pages and they are presented in no particular order. Each activity includes a title ("See an Eclipse", "Do a Ropes or Challenge Course", "Enter a Crazy Competition", etc), followed by a kid- friendly description of the activity. Each listing includes full color pictures along with suggestions on specific places to visit and even web sites (in some cases) to visit for more information.
101 Things You Gotta do Before You're 12 is a book about exploration, but it is also a book about identifying things your kids have done and things they would like to do. In order to accomplish this and keep track of each event or activity, the book includes stickers with different words: "Way Weird", "Mission Accomplished", "This Rocks", "Just Gotta", "Loved It", "Ho Hum", "Top 20", and "Never Ever." There is a single sticker for "Absolute Favorite" and one for "Next Best." The idea is to go through each of the events, identify where your kids have been, what they liked, what they didn't like, and where they would like to go, then place the appropriate sticker over the hand symbol on each event's page.
101 Things You Gotta do Before You're 12 is a fun book that serves many functions. It is great as an adventure guide of discovery because it helps parents and children discover new and exciting things to do that they may never have considered before. It is also a good guide for reminiscing about past vacations and getaways, as well as an activity book complete with stickers so that kids can identify their favorite and least favorite events/activities.
Travel is very important in my household so it was only fitting that I would purchase this book and share it with my two girls. They already enjoyed the sister book "101 Things You Gotta See Before You're 12", so I was completely confident they would like this book as well. It follows a similar theme as the first book, except that this one is focused more on events than places.
Much like the other "101" book by Joanne O'Sullivan mentioned above, this book keeps its destinations on a general level so that kids can find something that matches, regardless of where they live. Take item #13, for example. It recommends that children "See a Great Race." This can, of course, be any race and generalizations like this make the book more family- friendly and less frustrating. If the activities/events were too specific (like, "See the Kentucky Derby"), the book would become frustrating and unrealistic because it would require traveling far and wide in order to have any chance to do everything listed in the book. By keeping things general, the author also keeps it real. Regardless of where you live, chances are you will be within a couple hours of just about every activity listed in this book. Many of the events, in fact, are things your kids can do at home so there should be no problem taking part in the majority of the activities in this guide.
Most of the events/activities listed in this book are described on a single page, but there are some that take up two pages. What I like about these extended versions is that they help parents and kids find examples of the featured event. For example, activity #11 says to "Walk a Swinging Bridge." This sounds cool, but what if you have no idea about where the nearest swinging bridge might be? Well, 101 Things You Gotta do Before You're 12 helps you find some by listing seven specific, well- known swinging bridges, just in case you happen to be near one, along with a web site you can visit to find other swinging bridges in your area. This is nice because it makes sure that kids are not left wondering how they will ever find one of the featured events or activities. Other listings include similar information to make sure you and your child are pointed in the right direction.
Placing stickers on each page is yet another fun part of the book and once again, the author did a very good job in her selection of stickers, number of stickers, etc. There are actually more than 101 stickers included and this is nice if you have more than one child, one of whom may have a sharp difference of opinion and wish to place a different sticker on the same page. Another nice fact is that the stickers are not permanent. If you child changes his/her mind later, the sticker can be carefully removed and placed somewhere else.
Overall, 101 Things You Gotta do Before You're 12 is a very good book that my kids and I both like for slightly different reasons. They enjoy the stickers and revisiting places they have been while I like the book more for its suggestions for family adventure. The book includes everything from the adventurous (Swim With the Dolphins), to the educational (attend a Pow Wow), to the creative (Make up a Pen Name or Spy Name) to the practical (Start Saving) and beyond. It makes a fun book from which kids and parents can share, plan, remember, and learn.