I'm starting this series of dates with both my 11 and 9 year old daughters after attending a mini-conference put on by the same group that published the book.
The mother's book and the daughter's diary are set up well. Just enough information to outline a simple object lesson and then room to structure the date in a way that works for you--whether the date is out at a fancy restaurant or spa something more cost effective like your own home. My 11 year old likes the child's diary especially, it has lots of blank lined paper at the very end for her to write in and room to add photos if you're a scrap booking fanatic.
Both girls were a little self conscious at first with some of the suggestions. Getting a hand massage in a fancy restaurant was different, and my youngest was very nervous about the facial--but both are catching on to what the dates are intending to do--pamper & lavish attention on them. Enough that now they are reading ahead and looking forward to their own date time with me and actively making suggestions about what to do to make the date more special for them. The neat thing is that they don't realize that all this special time is helping them to build confidence in themselves. Something I wouldn't have said my girls were lacking in particular. But seeing how much these dates lift them up, I'm kind of amazed at how much some quality time with mom is doing for their confidence level(like super high quality time--time set aside & not intruded upon by anything else happening in the house.)
A word of warning, following through with ALL the dates takes some planning & effort. The author does offer low cost alternatives, but there are some expenses that are unavoidable if you follow each date as outlined (especially the shopping date.)
I was a little worried that the 11 year old might find the material "young" and was ready to change if she didn't want to follow the recommended format of listening to an audio track on the way to the date, going on the date, filling out the questions in the diary, then listening to an audio track on the way home. But so far, she's going along with it. The object lessons are simple, biblically based. Each date has a key verse. The lesson can seem somewhat obvious (and thus my fear the 11 year old would be too sophisticated for it) but sometimes less is more. We manage to fill the whole time with talk even when it goes far from the intended subject--and the lessons are so basic, its easy to bring the conversation back.
Because I've got two daughters and only one summer, 16 great dates is kind of tough to schedule. So we've agreed as a family to combine a few dates and bring both girls (like the facial & the shopping dates.) But I've been having some great conversations when each daughter has their own date. I know the book is recommended for groups, but I'd tell any mom to be selfish and enjoy the time with her daughter alone. The dynamic changes dramatically when its one on one.
And remember, the product with the blue cover is a package of a child's diary, an audio cd, and the mother's guide. The product with the orange/yellow cover is just the child's diary alone. If its just you and your daughter, you only need to buy the product with the blue cover.
And if you're thinking of saving a little money by just getting the child's diary, you could manage it, though the mother's guide is somewhat essential. It has the object lessons outlined in greater detail with pointers for discussions afterwards. On the second date, you need some of the visual information printed only in the mother's guide. The mother's guide has everything that's printed in the child's diary, including a small set of optional devotionals. It also has some thoughts for mothers that is not in the child's diary.