As I mentioned before, the kind people at Random House have sent me a copy of this book to review, so here goes.
Although it is produced by The Scout Association and the foreword is by the Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, it’s not specifically targeted at Scouts. The idea is for any young person, Scout or not, to be able get up from the computer or games console and go out and enjoy the outdoors and do it safely. Indeed, although knots (always a Scouting favourite!) are covered, as Bear says
When we show you knots, we’ll only show you the most useful.
So the book covers what you need to know. It’s designed to be dipped into for the specific area you are looking at, although reading from cover to cover is an informative and enjoyable experience.
Of course, when I first got the book, I thought ‘Ha, there won’t be anything in there I don’t know! I’m a Queen’s Scout and a Group Scout Leader!’ – I WAS WRONG! Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration, I know I don’t know that much, but even the most experienced outdoorsy type (& that’s not me) will find new information to pique their interest, whether it information on camping, fire lighting or water activities.
The first chapter is titled ‘Being Prepared’ (snappy title, wonder where they got it from?) and this isn’t just about planning your activity, it’s about teamwork and your health. So even from the start, the book breaks down what you need to do to ensure you’re ready and safe for your outdoor activity and this concept continues throughout the book.
I’d use it to brush up on skills when I am next showing the Scouts how to do various outdoor activities. In fact it would be useful to have around on a meeting night just in case I needed to be reminded of something or find out something I didn’t know while going over an area with the Scouts.
I’d also recommend it to parents wishing to buy something for their Scout as a gift. There would also be the added bonus that the parents would be able to read the book and gain some idea of the outdoor experiences Scouting offers the child and help them when it come to, for example, preparing for camp!
I especially like the Quick Tips section at the back. Here’s a good one –
A dixie lid full of conkers at the door of the tent keeps the spiders out!
UPDATE: a translation of the very British terms ‘Dixie’ and ‘Conkers’ are in the Comments section!
So in conclusion, an interesting and very useful book for non Scouts, Scouts and Scout Leaders. I will recommend it to my Group’s Leaders and to the Scouts as an excellent source of reference.
A Complete Guide to Scouting Skills is published on 4th March 2010 and the retail cost is £14.99. I know it will be available on Amazon for £9.74 which is a bargain, and that also means that if any of my international readers are interested in getting their hands on a copy it’ll be easy for them to do so!
Chris at Jabbering and Adam at Woggleknot are also getting copies and will be reviewing the book themselves, so keep an eye on their blogs.
UPDATE 2: I forgot to add the link to the site with some sample pages from the book. It can be seen here.