The book's title is what the book actually provides. Drawing for OLDER CHILDREN AND TEENS. People who give this book to a six year old shouldn't be surprised that some of the exercises or explanations are too hard. Likewise, people who want to draw like Rembrandt should realize that a book titled 'drawing for older children and teens' might not be the best resource. Do people even think any more?
Anyway, now that that's out of my system: I adore this book. There are three drawing books I will never give away: this one, Edwards's _drawing on the right side of the brain_ (psychobabble or not aside, the fact is, it works!) and Dodson's book on drawing. Each has strengths and weaknesses. The absolute strength of Brookes's book is sheer enthusiasm. One reviewer is scandalized by the testimonials of success cases Brookes includes: I found them the most inspiring. But what can I say, I need all the encouragement I can get. Even if you skip all that and jump to the exercises, you will get your money's worth out of this book.
What it has that is unique: a day one invitation to play with different drawing media. Edwards's book is perhaps a little too pencil-sketch focussed--this book encourages you to play with colored pencils, art pens, and pastel crayons. I reiterate the word 'play'. For those of us who want to learn to draw as a hobby, not as professional artists, the notion of art as play rather than work is very important. (Again, professional artists, the title alone might tell you this book is not for you?) It also encourages you to learn different STYLES. Edwards's book has sometimes been criticized for being too focused on realistic drawing. Brookes encourages you to try abstraction and flat drawing as well as a more realistic style. Overall, it encourages you more than any other book I've encountered thus far, to develop your own style.
Even the limitations of the book are not limitations, if you take into account the audience. Her list of subjects to draw doesn't necessarily work for me, but I remember as a teenager drawing a lot of the items on her list over and over again. (I must have drawn about a million horses). A student today just handed in an in-class writing assignment with the bottom half covered with a drawing of a car. She knows, in other words, what young people like to draw, and presents the information in manageable and attractive pieces. If you're an older reader, like me, who picked this book up because I suck way too much at drawing for books like _the Natural Way to Draw_ and many other upper level learn to draw books, some of the exercises seem silly. Skip 'em! Do another one you like better, again. I've had a lot of fun, for example drawing my cats in not only a variety of media (pastel, colored pencil, conte, pencil) but also in many more styles (primitive, cartoonish, realistic, abstract). A lot of the technical exercises (copying drawings upside down, using a viewfinder) are in many other drawing books, but are again presented in a young adult friendly manner.
It's a book about ENJOYING drawing. Anything you like, you're bound to become better at, because you enjoy it, so you keep doing it. Especially if you get results you like. This really is worth a look, but only if you either fit into the categories of the title, or still draw like you do!