Friday, November 08, 2013

The Dangerous Book for Boys by Gonn and Hal Iggulden

Originally written in 2006 for U.K. audiences, this U.S. edition of The Dangerous Book for Boys, published the following year, underwent a few modifications for the American reader, yet, all the while maintaining its appeal as a useful compendium of knowledge for boys both young and old alike. Within its pages you’ll discover a wide variety of topics ranging from instructions for making five types of knots, to noteworthy famous battles, building a tree house, extraordinary tales of heroic adventure, uncovering the mystery behind secret inks, and the art of skipping stones – plus a whole lot more.

The Iggulden brothers offer alternatives to the electronic-oriented world in which we live. They describe their book as follows, “In this age of video games and cell phones, there must still be a place for knots, tree houses, and stories of incredible courage. The one thing that we always say about childhood is that we seemed to have more time back then, this book will help you recapture those Sunday afternoons and long summers…”

Most of the activities included in the book are not dangerous as the title might suggest, but rather things that kids can safely undertake on their own or together with a parent. And although its focus is aimed toward boys, that certainly doesn’t preclude girls from liking it too. I found plenty of engaging and entertaining material. Albeit I had no particular interest in making a go-cart, however, I quite enjoyed reading and learning about marbling paper, seven modern wonders of the world, even the fundamentals of codes and ciphers, just to name a few.

The Dangerous Book for Boys embodies a sense of nostalgia, and so, those from earlier generations should find a certain charm and appeal about it as well. The Boys’ Book: How to be the Best at Everything and For Boys Only: The Biggest, Baddest Book Ever are written along similar lines and can also be found on the VBPL catalog. For girls who want a comparable book of their own, try The Daring Book for Girls.

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