Guide teens through everyday summer adventures with ‘The How-To-Handbook’

This summer, your parents say that you’ll be doing more around the house.

Your chore list almost doubled, in fact, because they want to prepare you for the future: cooking, cleaning, caring for your own clothes, money-management, car repair, things like that. This summer, they’re challenging you, and it’s kinda scary.

For instance, what if you mess up? What if you do something wrong? Maybe you should ask for help. Or maybe you should read “The How-To Handbook” by Martin Oliver and Alexandra Johnson.

So you’re going to take more responsibility around the old homestead this year. You’ve got plenty to learn, and “The How-To Handbook” can help.

As the new house chef, you’ll need to know your way around the kitchen, for instance. You’ll have to learn to create a menu of healthy, balanced meals. You may need help peeling potatoes, unjamming a jar, chopping onions, making (and breaking) eggs, or finding recipes. This book has all that, plus instructions on setting a proper table and making a good cup of tea. Then you’ll learn how to clean up safely, and properly load the dishwasher.

All this meal-making stuff is great, but what if you decide you want to get a job and make some cash, too? Again, this book is a big help: start a gift-wrapping business, clean windows or clean a room (in five minutes!), do laundry (start to finish), erase a stain, mend a seam, thread a needle and sew on a button with the info you’ll find here. Learn how to do yard work, wash a car, or fix a tire (vehicle or bike). And, of course, with all this moola you’ll be making, learn how to manage your money.

But remember — you can’t work all summer. You’ve got to have some fun, so why not take a little trip? Learn how to tie sturdy knots, pitch a tent and take care of yourself with simple first-aid. Know how to banish motion-sickness, pack a suitcase and how to stay safe in the city. And don’t forget to take pictures. You’ll find out how with this helpful book!

Looking for a quick and informative read that might help you navigate this summer? You’ll find it here … but beware. Though the authors can make life easier with “The How-To Handbook,” there’s advice in this book that might need caution.

Starting with easy-to-do chores and working up to tasks that require a little more finesse, this book makes sticky problems a lot easier with step-by-step instructions and quick line drawings for clarification. That’s great, when it comes to cooking, repairs, appearance and fun. But Oliver and Johnson also give readers tips on things like popping zits (not generally recommended), and some of the first-aid advice seemed lacking.

I don’t think this is bad information — it just needs to be used with a level head, so if you’re mature enough for that, then grab it. For teens 14 or older, “The How-To Handbook” might be something to have around the house. 

View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of children’s books weekly.

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