The Dangerous Book For Boys
Perhaps it was evidence of how paltry my local library was, or maybe I was as weird a kid as I am an adult, but I remember reading a lot of really old books full of "dangerous" projects. I pulled out lots of project books that had their first printings in the 30's, often listing ingredients you couldn't get anymore. I realize now that perhaps I shouldn't have burned all those holes in the lawn, nor used the toilet & plunger as pestle & mortar.
I did actually learn stuff from those old tomes though. Those old books had no reservation in teaching amateur chemistry, model rocketry, building things out of scrap lumber, using a knife... knowledge that some parents groups seem to want kept secret nowadays. Not only is there a conscious effort by some adults to bubble wrap life for their children, but many kids are so embroiled in virtual games and digital experiences that they're not aware of the real magic and adventure that lies in their backyards.
This book collects some of the best of these old projects. What boy wouldn't like to learn how to make their own timer and tripwire? A periscope or go-kart? You'll learn about the greatest paper airplane ever, how to palm a coin, and the five knots every boy should know! This is the kind of stuff that my father showed me how to do - the kinds of things I thought everybody knew.
"The Dangerous Book For Boys" is a great title, but it could potentially scare off a lot of parents. The world isn't made of Nerf, but neither are there monsters around every corner. This book hit #1 in the UK, and hopefully it can do the same here. Let's see some enthusiasm around the good ol' non-volatile read-only media we call "book".
It'll be great to walk in the park this summer and see parents and kids fashioning great new memories by working on these fun old-fashioned projects together. Now excuse me while I build a submersible from some old jukebox parts...