The Bumper Book of Bravery by Charlie Norton

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The Bumper Book of Bravery by Charlie Norton

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Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: Saying it's a modern Boy's Own Annual tells you all you really need to know. It's a hefty book, but not an off-putting one, even for not-so-confident readers. The Bumper Book of Bravery will make for a particularly good Christmas present.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 272 Date: September 2009
Publisher: Virgin Books
ISBN: 978-1905264834

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The Bumper Book of Bravery looks at bravery in all its forms - from people in wars, to explorers enduring amazing hardships, through spies and revolutionaries, by way of sportsmen and women, even to brave animals.

It's a modern Boy's Own Annual. Some of the connections to bravery are a little tenuous, but not so much so that anyone will cry foul. It's a book to read under the bedcovers, imaginging you're tramping through the jungle in search of treasure, scoring a penalty in the FA Cup final, or tracking baddies in the desert. It's a book for boys who don't really like fiction, but love losing themselves in true life tales of adventure and the human spirit.

I liked the modern sensibility: this isn't a jingoistic look at tales from the empire. There are stories of bravery from all backgrounds and cultures, without excessively glorifying or deriding any particular worldview. It's mostly soldiers and explorers, but I was particularly impressed with the inclusion of Mama Muliri's story towards the end - she's a rape counsellor in the Congo who helps women escape from war-torn areas and deal with the aftermath of war. It will give the readers plenty to think about, and is presented in an appropriate manner for the young target audience. (I have to admit that for a moment, I nearly flagged it up as something some parents might want to look out for. What stupidity from me to think a rape counsellor's story was somehow less acceptable than hearing of, say, Genghis Khan's exploits).

The Bumper Book of Bravery straddles the preteen/teen age range. Fact-loving young 'uns will enjoy dipping into it, absorbing the lists and cherry-picking the most exciting of tales. It's a hefty book, but the vocabulary is clear and accessible. Teens will devour it, particularly if they're the sort of readers who don't really engage with fiction. It's for a broad age range, rather than a vague age range. If they'd be interested in the Guinness Book of Records, or they like watching Ray Mears on TV, then The Bumper Book of Bravery will be suitable for them.

It's that time of year (August?!) where thoughts turn towards Christmas presents, and The Bumper Book of Bravery would make a great choice. It's big enough and detailed enough to tick the quality box, whilst being perfect for flicking through when digesting a mahousive turkey meal in the afternoon. War and peace on Earth might not quite go hand in hand, but it screams of being a gift book, and will be warmly appreciated. Recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

The Ultimate Survival Guide For Boys by Mike Flynn has a similar Boy's Own sensibility, although is a little lighter - I'd plump for dipping into Bravery myself. Serious Survival: How to Poo in the Arctic and Other Essential Tips for Explorers by Marshall Corwin strikes the perfect tone, and with a title like that, how could you say no?

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Buy The Bumper Book of Bravery by Charlie Norton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bumper Book of Bravery by Charlie Norton at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Bumper Book of Bravery by Charlie Norton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bumper Book of Bravery by Charlie Norton at


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