“The Double Dangerous Book for Boys” by Conn, Arthur & Cameron Iggulden


c.2019, Wm. Morrow                    $22.99 / $29.99 Canada                           320 pages


You’re stuck between seasons.

Baseball is over, football is getting close to wrapping up. Halloween’s done, Thanksgiving just ended, and Christmas is a lifetime away. Can this time of year possibly be any more boring? You need excitement. You need adventure! You need “The Double Dangerous Book for Boys” by Conn, Arthur & Cameron Iggulden.

So, what are you going to do this weekend once you’ve run out of fun?  How about making more fun with the things in this book?  Learning to pick locks, for example, might be a good time and it may be useful someday. It’s one of the first few things you’ll find.

Or let’s say you have to stay indoors. With this book, you can help around the house by learning the Japanese art of Kintsugi, which involves fixing broken items to make them better than new. Or learn how to cast things in resin, which is a different way of saving them forever. Be a smarty-pants by knowing a few basics about laws and politics. Or earn some cash by being the best kidsitter around with recipes to try, games to invent, plus a paper box, a jumping paper frog, paper airplanes, and balloon swords to make.

If you can go outside, there’s plenty to do with this book. Know the rules for Ultimate Frisbee, for one. If you live in an area with snow, make an igloo that you can actually sleep in tonight. Impress others with your knowledge of wild birds. Make rubber band guns, or head for the garage and make a tool storage unit.

And because this is a book, there’s interesting reading inside “The Double Dangerous Book for Boys.” Read about American coins, Greek legends and mythology, and try a bit of poetry, just because. Learn about card games, and dangerous adventure stories that actually happened, and that boys like you will love.

Does this book look familiar to you?

It may; similar books by author Conn Iggulden were released 13 years ago, and you might’ve enjoyed one yourself. But, Iggulden says “I thought… I’d covered everything in the first book, but there’s nothing like raising boys for surprising you.”

And thus, “The Double Dangerous Book for Boys” is all new and made mostly of the kind of material you might’ve found in boys’ magazines 50 years ago: things to make and do, games to play, and reading that teaches critical thinking and respect for the past. So far, so good… until you reach the very last chapter, which may serve as caution but that contains information on what isn’t in this book. That includes things that, indeed, can be found online but that parents still might think are astoundingly inappropriate for 12-to-16-year-olds; and dumb ideas that are described enough that they may just as well’ve been added.

Truly, as much fun as this book is, parents will want to think hard before giving it to the wrong kid. Read the last chapter of “The Double Dangerous Book for Boys” first and avoid a season of disaster.


Terri Schlichenmeyer is a book reviewer. Her column appears in the Lifestyle section.

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