Work Title: Backyards for Kids
Work Author(s): Ziba Kashef
150 color photos, 144 pages, Hardcover $16.95
House and Home
Reviewer: Ron Kaplan
Child development experts express concern that kids don't get enough outdoor exercise these days. Backyards for Kids is just the book for those who want to create a safe, fun, and perhaps challenging home environment, regardless of special limitations. The measure of a "how-to" utility is how well it presents its message: Are the plans logical and easy to understand? Are they well-illustrated? Are they written matter-of-factly, or with a sense of humor and style? Backyards scores high on all these points; from design layout, to selecting materials, to execution, taking the reader through the steps honestly, and even suggesting when it might be a good time to call in a professional rather than do it yourself. The instructions are easy to follow, with schematics, line drawings and photos for a selection of tree houses, sand boxes, and swing sets. Knowing that kids love to be involved, Backyards also suggests age-appropriate tasks.Kashef realizes that tastes change as kids grow up. That swing set that was so entertaining five years ago is now obsolete, so he offers suggestions for the different age groups. The little ones might enjoy sandboxes and tunnels. "Tweens" desire more sophistication like tree houses and forts, as well as miniature houses/cottages to call...