The Ultimate Survival Guide For Boys by Mike Flynn

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The Ultimate Survival Guide For Boys by Mike Flynn

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A potentially interesting book about how to survive in the wilderness or your back garden, which unfortunately misses the mark by not being enough of one thing or the other. It's worth a read, but you wouldn't take it on a dangerous camping trip to the back garden.
Buy? No Borrow? Yes
Pages: 138 Date: April 2008
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 978-0230700512

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Ah, running, jumping, climbing trees, tracking wild animals, getting muddy. Always fun. Fun to pretend, fun to imagine, fun to read about. The Ultimate Survival Guide For Boys pitches itself as everything you need to know to survive in the wilderness or your back garden. There's information about how to make a compass, how to dress warmly in the Arctic, how to catch a fish, and how to make a treasure map.

I was expecting to love The Ultimate Survival Guide For Boys, but I'm afraid it missed the mark. There wasn't enough of what children can do in their back garden or nearby woods to pretend they're in the middle of a jungle, nor was there enough of what to actually do if you're in the middle of the jungle. This sort of non-fiction book, even with children as the target audience, needs to embrace geeky detail (for want of a better phrase). It should be something to pore over, but for all the information about how to get water from a banana tree, or make a pizza box oven at home, it still feels slight.

The tone is very much "what if you, a 10 year old, finds themselves in the desert/Arctic/halfway up a mountain?" It's too far-fetched to be local, and too safe to be global. Such a book either needs to whole-heartedly encourage children to be great adventurers (or rather imagine they're great adventurers) or be a realistic look at their local wilderness.

It's by no means a terrible book, but it's a definite missed opportunity. I don't suppose a website called The Bookbag should really be recommending that children watch TV instead, but you really would be better off watching an episode of Ray Mears, which gets the mix of global and local information spot on.

(I also wasn't particularly keen on the 'for boys' in the title - muddy girls exist too. It's not a sexist book, and I'm not going to launch into a big tirade about it, but it just struck me as unnecessary).

If Ray Mears isn't on TV tonight and you want to read a book instead, you'll enjoy Ouch! by Georgina Phillips and How to Poo in the Arctic by Marshall Corwin.

Thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Buy The Ultimate Survival Guide For Boys by Mike Flynn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Ultimate Survival Guide For Boys by Mike Flynn at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Ultimate Survival Guide For Boys by Mike Flynn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Ultimate Survival Guide For Boys by Mike Flynn at Amazon.com.


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Magda said:

It was probably just hastily done in the wake (??how big is a wake???) of the enormous sucess of The Dangerous Book for Boys. I have seen several other titles for boys (and a few, totally ridiculous, for girls or other tpes of females - I was even given one for, ouch, mums). This mixture of joke and DIY, slight and real seems to be a feature.