Saturday, April 26, 2014
The Boys' Book: How to be the Best at Everything.....
A couple of years ago I had a fifth grade boy that carried The Boys Book: How to be the Best at Everything around like a bible. Any chance he got he went right back to reading it. At the time I never picked it up to look over, I was just happy he had found something he loved to read. So when I saw it on the library shelf I decided to check it out for myself.
I learned that this The Boys' Book is a revised and expanded issue of another British book called How to Be the Best At Everything published in 2004. It is set up in over fifty chapters. Each chapter stands alone and is an instructional manual on how to do a certain thing. There is a very broad range of topics from "how to perform a card trick," "how to fight off a crocodile," "how to rip a phone book in half," "how to get an egg in a bottle," etc. Most of which look like things that every true boy should know. It looked like the author's had covered all their bases.
After reading the book I understand why I have never seen another student reading The Boys Book. It's one of those books that adults think children will love, but that it misses the mark. The heading for the chapters look interesting, but when you start to read them they are boring. I would think that the target age group for this book would be about third to fifth grade, yet a child would have to be a solid reader to get through the text. Maybe that's why my student loved it, he was an excellent reader.
I also felt the the illustration let the book down. They have an old timey look to them and they aren't really eye catching or even very interesting. Inside the book there are some pen & ink simple drawings--some are diagrams on how to do things and others are just comic strip style pictures that highlight that chapter. To me, one of the most important parts of a non-fiction book is the art work and I felt like this one was just "okay." I know if I was a child I would not pick this book up.
I was disappointed in The Boys Book: How to be the Best at Everything, it wasn't interesting enough to even hold the attention of someone who had to read it. I am not sure what hope it has in getting elementary school boys to read it. However I would recommend This Book Will Change Your Life or The Encyclopedia of Immaturity.