Monday, February 04, 2008
The Dangerous Book for Boys
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8–Intentionally old-fashioned and politically incorrect, this eclectic collection addresses the undeniable boy-appeal of certain facts and activities. Dozens of short chapters, in fairly random order, cover a wide range of topics in conversational prose. Simple instructions for coin tricks and paper airplanes alternate with excerpts from history such as Famous Battles and facts about ancient wonders of the world and astronomy. The dangerous aspect is more apparent in such chapters as Making Cloth Fireproof, and Hunting and Cooking a Rabbit, but also applies to the overall premise that action is fun and can be worth the risks. A section on stickball, for instance, includes advice to possibly flee the vicinity in the event of a broken window. The information is appropriately concise. The knot-tying section, for example, sticks to five basic varieties with clear instructions and useful diagrams. Occasional topics such as Marbling Paper and Latin Phrases Every Boy Should Know may not fit the stereotypical interests of young males, but support the general theme of cultivating curiosity. The authors refer to their own experiences as they tested the activities, lending an appealing personal tone. Tongue-in-cheek humor emerges throughout, notably in eight bits of advice offered in the chapter called Girls. Already a best seller in England, this American edition features several adjustments, such as substituting The Declaration of Independence for Patron Saints of Britain. Both premise and content should appeal to many boys, and might be even more successful when nostalgic dads join in.–Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR
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