I found this book (and it’s companion volume, “The Daring Book For Girls”) while shopping for Christmas gifts. I glanced through its pages, loved the concept, and bought one of each for my son and daughter.
My kids opened them on Christmas morning, gave them a baffled once-over and a polite “Thank you,” and moved on to cooler stuff.
I didn’t mind; it was a natural reaction to what looked like a couple of 1940’s-era textbooks. I hadn’t expected them to appreciate this particular gift right away.
Later that day, as the excitement was winding down, I sat down with “The Dangerous Book For Boys,” and perused its pages from cover to cover. This book is an absolute treasure. It’s part how-to guide, part encyclopedia, part secret agent tutorial. It offers sage advice, inspiring poetry, and valuable information about the natural world. There are step-by-step instructions for how to make a paper airplane, paper hat, paper boat, or paper water bomb. It shows how to tie five different useful knots; how to build a great treehouse, a go-cart, a workbench, a real bow and arrow, or a periscope; how to build a simple battery or electromagnet or pocket light from easy-to-find objects. It includes the rules of 14 different sports and games; how to understand morse code or US Naval Flag Codes, how to encrypt and decipher secret messages. It offers the Navajo Code Talkers’ Dictionary, several Latin phrases everyone should know, as well as the basic rules of English grammar. There are instructions for how to learn to juggle, skip stones across water, fish, do coin tricks or grow a sunflower. The Declaration Of Independence is printed in its entirety, as are the Ten Commandments. The subject of astronomy is covered exhaustively. There are seven poems every boy should know, and a recommended reading list of books. There are several pages devoted to navigation, including how to find North in the dark, and a detailed explanation of why the sky is blue.
And I’m not even scratching the tip of the iceberg yet.
There’s a vast wealth of information and advice contained between the covers of this amazing tome. Everyone should own a copy of this book!
“The Daring Book For Girls” is a fun companion volume, but I found it to be rather less satisfying in its content choices. If I could only buy one or the other for my child, it would be one for boys — even if she were a girl.