The Dangerous Book for Boys

As soon as this book arrived in the mail my sons ran off with it. They poured over every page and always had some new fun fact that they had learned by reading this book.

A Dangerous Boy

They already own the American Boy’s Handy Book: What to Do and How to Do It. This was a book that was originally published in 1882, so much of the book is also a history lesson in the way things used to be done, like making arsenical soap, blow guns, or doing taxidermy in your home. NOT! Think of it as a book that Tom Sawyer might have had in his pocket.

I was intrigued to find out how The Dangerous Book For Boys would stack up to this book that is so well loved in my house. I am happy to report that is almost like a more practical and updated version of this 1882 classic.

One of the criticism’s that I have read about this book is the title and the fact that it is geared for Boys rather than Boys and Girls. My initial response was disbelief. Is there something inherently wrong with having things exclusively marketed to one sex or the other? I really don’t think so. I think we do a disservice to our children when we don’t allow them to embrace their boy-ness or girl-ness as something special and unique.

If they were smart they would now come out with a second book, The Dangerous Book for Girls. Most of the information contained in the book could be the same, but with some exclusively “girl” sections.

The American Girl Doll Company is not called the American Girl and Boy Doll Company, though I am sure that there are boys who would like to read the stories and play with the dolls. (Personally, I would love to see an American Boy Doll Company. My sons would love stories about American boys from history, though they dolls would have to be more action figure size to appeal to them.)

I loved the vintage feel and tone of the book. It’s like you are being taken back to an older more innocent time when you read the book. You believe that you have stumbled upon this treasure in your grandparents attic. The book is chock full of information, cool facts, interesting projects. Want to know how to tie a knot? Build a tree house? Skip stones? It’s all in there.

I told my eight year old that I was writing a review of the book. I explained that a review was telling what you liked about the book and whether you thought the book was worth buying.

“What do you think about the book?” I had asked.

“I like the book. It isn’t worth dying for, but I’d pay $10,000 for it.” he answered.

Alrighty then. Luckily it is selling on amazon for just $15.

They even have a website where you can get additional information about the two brothers who authored the book, download badges, peek inside the book before you buy it.

17 Responses to “The Dangerous Book for Boys”

  1. marta Says:

    Wow! My oldest, who turned 7 last Sunday, got it. It’s great it’s translated into so many languages. He’s still an early reader, but both my husband and I have been reading aloud pieces and bits and we’re all really enthused with it. Can’t wait til he’s 9 or 10, reads the book all on his own for the millionth time and does his projects with the younger siblings while we’re sunbathing in the holiday home my parents have by the beach…

    Marta from Lisbon

  2. Dw Says:

    I pre-ordered that book two weeks ago! I haven’t gotten ours yet….
    I am jealous!

  3. GraceD Says:

    “’I like the book. It isn’t worth dying for, but I’d pay $10,000 for it.’ he answered.”

    Now THAT’S a review. Your kid has a grand future ahead of him on the pages of the NYTimes Book Review or as a sommelier. Or both, because I heard the NYT pays crap.

  4. Susan Says:

    We have this book, too, and I love it; I can’t say enough good things about it.

    I’ve been wondering, though, if the people who are up in arms about the title are NOT parents of boys. It’s tough to find really terrific books for boys, books that grab them and hold them, and this is one of those books. And, as the author points out, we’ve lost that sense of adventure that used to be part of being a boy–jumping off the roof or trying to blow things up.

    Not that I want my boys DOING that, I’m just saying. I think it’s fine–no, I think it’s IMPORTANT–to have books for boys.

    That is all.

  5. Susan Says:

    I can’t wait to buy it for my son! Thanks!

  6. Denise Says:

    Guess what - there is a version for girls! OK it’s not the same but when we were in London, these two books were sitting side by side at the Foyles Bookstore

    The girl version is called The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls

  7. Sandi Says:

    Hey - I just came across your blog and love it. What is your favorite homeschool material?

  8. Fairly Odd Mother Says:

    Cool! I may have to get this and tuck it away for my little guy.

    BTW, my husband tells the kids that he wants to form an American Daddy doll company. It bothers him too that there aren’t any males representing!

  9. jody Says:

    My boys would love this. I am placing an amazon oder this week and will add it to the lot!

  10. Lori Says:

    My son enjoyed the “My America” series of books. They have some that are about boys and others about girls in different time periods of the US.

  11. Colleen Says:

    I bought it the same day you posted this and got it yesterday. My husband was laughing at me because I was reading it yesterday saying, “ooh, Navaho Codes! Cool, how to make a battery,” and so on… He remembered trying a lot of things in it when he was a kid. Thanks for the tip. I’m not sure I would’ve found it otherwise. I’m glad it didn’t cost $10,000 though.

  12. Karen Clark Says:

    My sons enjoy the “Dear America” series as well. There aren’t as many books about boys as there are for girls, but the ones they have are excellent. I wish there were books like American Girl that are geared towards boys. When my oldest son was about 10 we bought the American Girl book about finance and running a business because it was so well done. There was nothing to compare it to, and he didn’t care if was meant for girls! He just wanted to start a business!

  13. Jen Says:

    I am lol at the $10K comment. I am so putting these on my wish list!

  14. Cass Says:

    Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the tip.

  15. Carolyn Says:

    I called my husband last week after reading on your blog about it and then the reviews at Amazon. He works close to a BnN and hightailed it there and found and bought it (full price *eye roll*…MEN). Once back in his office, his co-worker saw it and said he JUST finished reading Conn Iggulden’s Genghis: Birth of an Empire and it was fabulous (looks like there are several…Empire books by Iggulden).

    But, the Dangerous Book for Boys…OMG…it is a HUGE hit. Dylan will be 13 in a month and every day he has that book open and is reading it avidly. He LOVED the Scott/Southpole history, and if that sparks his interest to read other adventures of Southpole expeditions (Shackleford), then I am ALL FOR IT.

    Thank SO much for posting about this book Chris. You’ve done those of us with sons a GREAT service.

  16. SuperMom Says:

    Another book that I think is great (maybe even better than Dangerous Book) is The Big Book of Boy Stuff by Bart King. I found this in B&N when I was helping my son look for a science fair project book. Thia book has all kinds of fun activities, and the author explains the science behind the experiements. It’s also got a section on girls, gross stuff like vomit and burping, and some funny jokes and wacky facts.

    He also has a Big Book of Girl Stuff that is very cute, and a great book for middle-school girls who might need some reassurance.

  17. TulipGirl Says:

    With a houseful of boys, I’d already put that book on my wishlist. However, after reading this review, I think it’s going to be bumped up for our oldest’s upcoming birthday. . .

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