I bought this book for my 8 year old. She is really too young to be going through this but having an end-of-August birthday she is mixing with girls practically a year older than she is and some of them are starting to (mainly emotionally - blowing hot and cold, moody etc), so I felt it would be useful to introduce her to what is going on with them, and I felt this takes the pressure off the realisation of what will be happening to her as it is impersonal to her at the moment. I was primarily looking for a book which just addressed the issues of emotional changes, boobs and hair and this seemed like the best book for that. On receiving the book however, I did feel that it covers issues that I would rather leave until she is probably about 12-13 (particularly sex and drugs). My solution on giving this book to my daughter was to place a marker at the point I felt it was suitable for her to stop reading and explain that I don't feel she needs to know what is beyond the marker but its fine to look and ask questions about it.
I do feel this book is suitable for my requirements in helping my daughter and its quite nice for her to have a book which will be relevant for the next few years, covering the whole spectrum of pubescent issues. This morning, for example, I was told off for not having breakfast with her as "my special book says you will feel sluggish"!
The good points about this book are: 1. The lay-out is very appealing to younger children with child-like font, cartoons, nice colours etc 2. Good, sensible tips about managing the effects of puberty (eg trim bushy pubic hair if it ets embarrassing when swimming and ideas of how to manage unexpected periods) 3. It addresses hygiene and health issues - diet, dental advice, exercise and rest and hygiene very well - 10 pages worth.
My downsides are: 1. Lack of alternatives: There is no alternative advice to shaving excess hair (underarms and legs) and it states "Most girls feel happier using sanitary towels when they first start their periods". Do they? I didn't! I think assumptions should be avoided in personal educational books like this! 2. I would have prefered to keep masterbation, orgasms, drugs (no matter how brief the mention) and the section on boys seperate for a few years - particularly as boys go through puberty slightly later - it is irrelevant to my daughter's need to know about her own body's changes.
Overall, I am happy with the book and despite fretting that I was imposing too much on my daughter, too young, I am really happy that I have done it and my daughter now refers to it as "my special book". In my opinion I feel this book should be aimed at age 9 on or where, like our situation, the social circle is around the age of 9.