Wild Adventures by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom
|Wild Adventures by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sam Tyler|
|Summary: Fed up of having a load of kids underfoot? Then perhaps they would like to go outside and have some adventures following animals tracks or picking up bird skulls? Check out a book that lets children explore the really wild side of the great outdoors.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 48||Date: February 2015|
|Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
When I was growing up, TV only had four channels and games consoles came in the form of the rubber keyed ZX Spectrum. Despite these meagre offerings, we would still spend endless summer hours in the sitting room if our parents had not thrown us outside. In 2015, there are far more TV channels to watch and games come in high fidelity, what chance does nature have against ‘Call of Duty’? You would be surprised, as despite all the creature comforts of the front room, children still want to play outside, all they have to be - is inspired.
This is exactly what Mick Manning and Brita Granström plan with their ‘Wild Adventures’ book which is packed with over 40 fully illustrated pages on thing to do in the wild. The activities cover all weathers, but as they are prominently real outdoor adventures, most of them are for fairer days. For those people lucky enough to live near some countryside or woods, there are loads of great ideas on offer. Having read other outdoor activity books for kids, it is wonderful to see a book that embraces the wild side of the wild and does not just list a bunch of activities that you can do in the back garden.
Sending out a child with a lighter and a breadknife may have been acceptable in my youth, but today you need to consider aspects such as health and safety, or even life and death. What ‘Wild Adventures’ does so well it not shy away from slightly more dangerous activities. When they are covered, safety is brought to the front. So when you are flying a kite – don’t do so in a storm; when blanching an animal skull (really!), make sure you wear gloves. Manning and Granström are encouraging children to live a little dangerously, just be sensible when doing so. I prefer this method of allowing children to make some small mistakes themselves, rather than experiencing nothing in life. I managed to survive the 80s, so I am sure they can handle making a den on their own.
Whilst the ideas within ‘Wild Adventures’ are varied and informative, the illustrations and page layouts are more mixed. The drawings look sweet, a light watercolour style that harks back to Enid Blyton’s ‘Five’. This is perfect to provoke a sense of nostalgia and fun, but when you want an intricate illustration of the difference between two birds’ beaks, the style is just not educational enough. This is reflected again in the way the pages are set out. There is a lot going on over two pages and the eye is drawn everywhere. Great for the first read through, as the book can be enjoyed just on its own, but if you plan to carry it outdoors to use as a guide, things become a little confusing.
‘Wild Adventures’ is perhaps best viewed as inspiration for adventure, rather than a practical guide. It is brilliant that Manning and Granström included safety warnings etc. but the activities are just not explained enough to be of practical use. You would probably want to supervise many of the activities yourself. However, expecting a 48 page children’s book to be Bear Grylls in paper form is just not feasible. Therefore, it should be seen for what it is – a wonderful guide to nature that is not afraid to get the youth of today outside and doing some slightly crazy things. Now where did I put that corkscrew – I have some conkers that need a hole …
You can read more book reviews or buy Wild Adventures by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Wild Adventures by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom at Amazon.com.
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