I first came across Jane Brocket on her blog, which used to be called Yarnstorm and which is now called simply by the author's name. Here is a link to it:
I loved the Yarnstorm blog because it had on it, in elegant words and accompanied by beautiful photographs, many things I love: flowers, quilts, knitting, fabrics, cakes, landscapes, and gardens. Jane Brocket wrote a book called The Gentle Art of Domesticity and this seemed to provoke a flurry of unkind reviews and reactions on the blogosphere to the effect that what she was writing was anti-women's liberation and retrograde and all sorts of other nonsense. In fact, it's a book that celebrates the domestic arts and if you like celebrating those, then surely you ought to have the freedom to do so. People who enjoy baking, sewing, and knitting are no stupider or less liberated than those who have no time for such things.
That's the background. This book, which is most beautifully illustrated and produced by Hodder and Stoughton, is a little like the Dangerous Book for Boys. I say that without having read Iggulden's work, but I'm sure that the market Brocket's book is aimed at is the one that made DBB such a hit. I hope that this book might also become part of every parent's equipment because it seems to be such a good idea, and very beautifully executed. Brocket has taken games, recipes, pastimes, etc from famous children's books of the past and adapted them for the present day, together with lots of extracts from the originals. So we have chapters called things like Secrets and Spies, Ripping Games, Amazing Adventures, Winter Days, Treats and Remedies, Lazy Weekends and so forth. There's something here to appeal to everyone, whatever their taste and each chapter has not only practical suggestions and full instructions, but also a reading list, so that the child or parent who might be daunted by having actually to MAKE and DO things can at the very least lie back on a comfy sofa and read about other people being creative and active. It's a really smashing book and very good value indeed at £17.99. It's got enough in it to keep a family amused for years and years and will definitely be a book to pass down through the generations. I'd also recommend it to any teacher wishing to be ahead of the curve when it comes to imaginative ways of passing the time. It will probably be in paperback next year but in the case of a book you're likely to use as much as this one, the hardback is worth the extra money. I'm sure lots and lots of you will love it and will keep coming back to it for all kinds of inspiration.