A guide to getting along on your own for the eleven-to-14 set--with much appeal, also, to anxious parents of latchkey children. The authors are thorough and cautious: they even tell how to get a stuck slice of bread out of a toaster; and in case of a bee sting, they advise calling the doctor. The alphabetical entries are easy to read (if occasionally too cute) and sensibly cross-referenced. How-to instructions are clear and direct--for everything from doing dishes and laundry to changing a bicycle tire or a fuse. The advice on personal development includes pertinent tips on earning money (plant sitting, tutoring, running errands for older people), on dieting (cut back on junk foods--and keep it quiet to avoid being teased), and on sibling rivalry (try to strike a bargain: if your brother lets you read in bed, you could take down your Bruce Springsteen posters). The sections on safety and security--especially well-done--provide concrete information without sensationalism: ""first aid"" lists the items to keep in a first-aid kit and their uses; ""phones"" tells how to handle nuisance calls; ""deliveries"" provides explicit directions for opening (and not opening) the front door. Excellent suggestions are made, too, for safety away from home--with a final reminder to ""trust your instincts"" if you suspect something is wrong, and go for help. The sensitive topic of sexual advances is handled with admirable directness: don't feel guilty, tell the person to stop (""you may be smaller than an adult, but you're not a toy for someone to play with""), and seek adult guidance. Parents will find the book handy as they set forth their expectations for children at home on their own; they might even use it as a basis for family discussion. And when there are household chores to be done, or the power fails, or a tooth gets knocked out, parents will feel more secure knowing that this all-round manual stands in loco parentis.