Hey, one of my favorite topics! Sorry I'm "late" on the conversation, I was away at teen girl's church camp this week. I got back yesterday and saw the discussion but was too tired to do anything about it. I think I'm recovering now.
Yes, the Bluedorn books are fine. We did have a few quibbles with some of the presentation--we disagreed with some of the conclusions and some of the examples didn't show what they THOUGHT they showed, for example. We had really, really lively discussions. My two older were about in the junior high range when we did them. My younger listened in, and some ideas he picked up and some went over his head. We just didn't worry about it. When we started the CAP materials, though, we liked them a lot better. Yes, the teacher's manual is good unless you are already pretty knowledgeable about the info. We thought they were just clearer. I have let my current 12yo read in the Bluedorn books for fun, but we aren't going to repeat them as a "course"--we will just do the CAP materials with him, as I think they are clearer. I'm not sure I want to start them with him this year, though, so we are looking at things he might use. One other earlier sort of thing, which SOUNDS interesting but has not been released yet, is a new Critical Thinking Press book called the Basics of Critical Thinking. I check back with them every week or so to see if the sample is on the website. I want to see how "workbooky" they made it.
So I do personally like the CAP books better. They could probably be used junior high but I want that high school credit so I'm not in a hurry to get there. The Bluedorn books are fun and good discussion spurs. And this year, being an election year, is a REALLY REALLY good time to study informal logic. There's a LOT of nonsense out there these days! Read from the book, listen to a few speeches, watch some political ads, and you'll have plenty of fodder for discussion!