Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Does my Dangerous Boy need a Book?

When I first heard tell of the book everyone is talking about in the blogsphere, I thought we honestly didn't need it. I've got a boy that lives dangerously in real life, does he need a book with directions on how to get into even more trouble? But then the Girl and I stopped the other day at our local book emporium and made someone search the gigantic book warehouse for a copy of the book. We sat down on little stepstools set haphazardly in a big aisle corner right in the midst of the cookbooks, and thumbed through The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Illgulden. About 5 seconds into the book, we were both hooked.

The title bothered me right from the start, I'll admit it. I felt it was sexist, especially since the Girl is much more inclined towards building dangerous science experiments for fun. But I looked beyond that when I saw all the cool things in the book.

I had mentioned the book to the Boy when I first heard about it, and he seemed remarkably disinterested in it. But after I brought a copy home, and placed it strategically on the kitchen table, he started looking at it. When he got to the page on How to Build a GoKart, his eyes lit up. Because it's not really a gokart, it's a street luge, and ever since the Malcolm in the Middle episode where Stevie is a street luge expert, the Boy has had a mad desire to try one out.

The Boy dismissed some of the content as too "Boy Scout-like", which is a serious dis in our neck of the woods. But there were things that he liked a lot. He noticed immediately the mistake in the list of baseball MVP awards. But he also liked the list of battles in the ancient world, most of which he's learned about in Latin and world history. He also liked some of the Tips and Tricks, and although he didn't want to admit it to me, some of the science experiments definitely perked his interest. He got really interested in the list of things every boy should have. He's been begging me for a big swiss army knife or a leatherman, and I've been ignoring him. Ok, I'm a tad bit concerned about him owning his own knife. But maybe I'm helicoptering a bit. I think I'll get him one for his birthday. With a good flashlight. And maybe a tent. Just in case he wants to move into the back yard.

Anyhow, the next thing I knew, the book disappeared upstairs with him and he was reading it on my bed in front of the fan.

Now, he's definitely on the very edge of the age group for which this book was designed, and many of the things in the book are already known to him. As sailors, both of my kids know how to tie knots, for instance. And the paper planes... been there and done that. But I think we're going to find plenty of things to do over the summer through perusing this book, and that's a good thing.

I think that this is a great book to have on a family bookshelf. I just wish the title weren't so gender specific. But I can deal. Really I can! And I can promise you we'll be building that street luge. It is just too cool to ignore.

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Blogger aka_Monty said...

I had a problem with the sexist aspect too...but from the excerpts and reviews I've read, I'm definitely eager to read this book (and so is my DAUGHTER) :)
Despite the bias toward the male of the species, I think that the book is chock-full of good stuff that is GREAT for our kids.

18/5/07 11:08 AM  

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