The Field Guide to
North American MalesMarjorie Ingall
(Henry Holt & Co.)
A distant cousin to the Audubon Guide to North American Birds, my daughter's book offers handy descriptions of over 50 species of boys, along with descriptions of their plumage, mating calls, sexual and agonistic displays, courtship rituals and habitats.
Now, this does not sound like the sort of book that would come from the pen (or word processor) of the Ayatollah Khomeini of feminists. How could this happen? Well, I'll let her speak for herself:
"In the past, only men were allowed to look. Today women can leer and dissect as much as boys can. But since female ogling has only recently been socially sanctioned and is still not often encouraged, women may need a little guidance, a little direction to the appraising stare. The Field Guide's tone is reassuring (you can develop your skills!) as well as inspiring (you'll learn something!) while offering enough common sense warnings (certain species are dangerous, and here's how to tell which ones) to prepare the emerging naturalist.
"It would be great if we could take a confirmed sleazy male and put a tag around his leg, the way the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does to wild Hawaiian nenes, so that other women would know to avoid him. Unfortunately, this is illegal. Likewise, it would be good to use Doppler radar to measure how quickly a given male runs away when threatened with a commitment, or how quickly he runs toward a recording deal or Twinkie or fashion model. Unfortunately, this is impossible. Females therefore need to learn to distinguish the different species and their foibles, and share the information with other women."
But seriously, folks, this is a funny book. No one makes me laugh like my darling daughter. And no one brings tears to my eyes like she does.
Check it out for yourself. The website for the book is
You can scan pages from the book and save the paltry $9.95 it will cost you at the bookstore. Or order it at discount from
To learn more about Marjorie Ingall, check out her personal website at
--- Michael Ingall