The problem with some books for girls OR Series with Precocious, Quirky Girls as Main Characters
Series with girls as precocious main characters is an ever expanding category in the world of kid's books. I just read and wrote my review for Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little in which I express my true feelings for books with precocious girls as main characters. If you want the whole story, read my rant, but the bottom line is that I don't like them. The are characters who get stories and attention for being kooky, quirky, obnoxious, difficult and/or messy. While these are all valid, real life traits that, along with better character traits, deserve to be written about, I think that ultimately these books present these attention getting characteristics as perfectly normal and acceptable. And this is valid as well. However, as a kid and as an adult reader of kid's books, I prefer to read books about girls like Meg from A Wrinkle in Time, who was mousy and not so good at school and always getting in fights but has an out of this world encounter that requires her to move beyond these qualities and confront her fears and ideas about herself.
These precocious girl books seem to exist mainly in the realm of 2nd - 4th grade reading level, maybe because these traits become unflattering in characters who are over 10 years old. And, in all fairness, it would be very difficult to write a character like Meg Murray at a 2nd grade reading level. I think it is just my nature to be suspicious of people and characters who can be described as spunky, sassy or misfits. But, like I say in my rant, these books are not written for me and it is not my place to impose my tastes on others. And, really, I can't think of anything so inherently wrong with these books that you should keep your daughters away from them. They are, after all, several steps above the Hannah Montana chapter books currently taking up a whole shelf at the books store, followed by the High School Musical series that takes up half a shelf...
Most of these books weren't around when my daughter was at this reading level 8 years ago. Had they been, and had she wanted to read them, I would have let her - read a few.