Full of top tips, diary templates, scenarios and checklists, it contains some valuable nuggets and insightful tools. I especially liked visualising techniques such as bringing down an imaginary Perspex screen in front of you (like the shields that police use when they go in to riots) to try to keep calm. I also liked the idea of carrying a small mat around with you wherever you go to use as a magic carpet for quiet time.
It isn't easy to strike a balance between sounding obvious to the more enlightened parent and yet informatively instructive to parents who may not already play with their child every day, for example, but the authors just about manage this. You have to be prepared to take a good look at yourself as a parent: exploring your listening skills; anger issues; relationships with play; and consistency in method. You must have the time, commitment and perseverance to put the plan into practice, and it will be up to parents to decide if the book really does do what it says on the tin.
Ailsa Holmes, parent participation project officer, TreeHouse