A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this novelty book is targeted more to adults than to kids although it was written by a fourth grader. Not that author Alec says anything untoward for younger ears, but the shtick depends on a certain maturity or it just isn't funny. Also Alec, like many young tweens, has some mostly benign sexism in his advice that may grind against parental values.
What's the story?
Alec Greven was 8 years old when he wrote HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS, and he based it on his own fourth grade observations. The book has become a surprise hit partly due to an ad campaign aimed solely at adults, which makes sense. The premise of the book is that at the root of adult interactions are the same basic rules we were going by on the elementary school playground: mainly that boys should dress neatly, not act too crazy, and focus on one girl at a time to "win victory" in the romance game.
Is it any good?
If you've ever laughed at those old episodes of "Kids Say the Darndest Things" you'll understand this book's appeal, but as true advice, it doesn't have much going for it. There's nothing hugely wrong with what Alec has to say (if you can look past his take on pretty girls in "big earrings, fancy dresses, and all the jewelry" and his contention that smart boys have girls "prowling" at their feet) but putting it between two pages doesn't raise it beyond the level of any fourth graders advice.
Which really begs the question: Do you want your kid to get advice on boy/girl relationships from a novelty book written by someone the same age as their classmates or from you?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Alec's advice. Is it true that pretty girls are more "coldhearted" than regular girls? Is getting a girl to like you really a victory? How is it different than making friends with other boys? Remember, this is fourth graders we're talking about -- they may need some help figuring out why everyone is making such a fuss about the whole boy/girl thing.