Grandma often likes Geogg & Vicki Wells' books, but must say she is a bit disappointed in their latest, My First Cookbooks - The Basics and found the book oddly discordant, starting with the cover. In their Book Description, Geoff and Vicki write 'We originally wrote this book with teens and pre-teens in mind but as we told our friends about it we heard things like, "What a great idea, that will make a terrific wedding present." or "My son's going off to college, I'll have to get him a copy"' and yet, they show two very young children (a boy 6 or 7, a girl of about 3)on the cover and name the book "My First Cookbooks." Having had a whole passel of preteens, teens and children to send off to college, Grandma can assure you that no one in their right mind would take such a book along to university with them. They would be laughed out of the dorm if anyone should see that cover! You might just as well haul along "Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls."
Inside is little better. The instructions are wordy and "more detailed", but it is often the wrong detail, like this bit from "Western Omelet"
"You are going to be chopping ham and onions using a big knife so obviously you need to keep your fingers out of the way. If your hands are still small you should have an adult get things started because you just don't have enough grip strength to control the knife yet.
The most dangerous part is cutting the onion in half. You have to control the onion with one hand and the knife with the other. If the onion rolls while you are cutting you may find yourself cutting finger instead of onion."
Older teens and college students would be highly offended by the wording here. It reads very patronizingly, more than a bit like a "wise adult" talking to a small child who isn't quite as intelligent as he might be. At the same time, no parent in their right mind would or should turn their child loose in the kitchen to use a "big knife" (that knife has a proper name and it should be referred to as a chef's knife even with the very young!) without proper instruction. At the very least, pictures are definitely in order!
The recipes are individually linked in an extensive Table of Contents, but the Table of Contents does not interface with the Kindle Navigation Menu and is placed in such a way that one must page backwards from the "beginning" to find it. That isn't helpful to even an experienced cook. New cooks who cannot even find the recipe they want will soon give up in frustration, which is what Grandma recommends you do with this book.
UPDATE May 11, 2012: After re-examining the issues with the Table of Contents (Geoff and Vicki do try pretty hard to get it right) I see that the TOC does not display correctly in Kindle for Mac because that version of Kindle does not handle sublevels in the Table of Contents. The TOC does display correctly in the Kindle for iPad app, so your experience may be variable. Geoff assures me he is working on fixing that problem. Accordingly, I've raised my star rating to 3 stars.