There are a lot of times when childhood is broken down into boys vs. girls. Sometimes that's a good thing, like when teaching pre-teens about what the crap is up with their changing anatomy.
And sometimes it's a bad thing, like when you assume boys want to be action heroes and girls want to be useless princesses.
Man those seem like some really cool scenarios that balance the outlandish (T-Rex Attack) with legitimately useful knowledge like how to survive a tornado. All packaged in an easily accessible, non-scary graphic novel format with step-by step instructions.
The girl version should, in theory, be just as useful and action oriented right?
What the hell did I just read? Did I time travel to 1950? Nope, I'm still writing this article on my computer in the year 2012. How did this dreck get published?
The worst part is even the "girl" chapters that seem to veer into actual survival situations are a smoke screen. Scary Survival in Chapter 8 covers crucial things like not throwing things at a ghost because you'll piss it off. Surviving a camping trip includes life-saving "fresh air is good for your complexion" tips. Live through a day at the beach by tying your hair back and not wearing heels. It honestly wouldn't surprise me if zombie survival in Chapter 26 entirely consisted of "find a man".
These books are written for kids aged 8+ which seems kind of young to instill the systematic delineation of appropriate gender activities. But what do I know? I only have a 7 year old. Maybe by next year I'll want her to know the best way to teach her cat to sit instead of how to keep calm with a broken leg.
I reached out to Scholastic Books for comment and they referred me to a press release posted to their blog today:
Many readers have expressed concerns about our How to Survive Anything titles, and we want to thank you for your passionate responses. The two titles have had very limited distribution to date, and no further copies will be made available.
Please check out the many other titles kids can discover this summer on our summer reading booklists, available on our Summer Challenge page and our Pinterest boards.
Again, we thank you for your feedback.
While they aren't going to pull the books from shelves, they assert no more copies will be published.