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Try This at Home: Book Captures Boyhood Nostalgia

Jun 2, 2007 (Weekend Edition Saturday)

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In an age of PlayStations, mobile phones and iPods, Hal and Conn Iggulden want boys to know that there's still room for pyrotechnics, paper airplanes and playfulness.

The brothers have captured some of the old-fashioned magic of being a boy in their book The Dangerous Book for Boys. Boyhood, the Igguldens say, is all about curiosity, so they've stocked their guide with some basic ingredients to get boys off the computer and into the backyard.

Boys can learn how to build a go-cart, make an electromagnet, grow a crystal and make secret ink. Dads and their sons can bond over the adventures of Scott of the Antarctic and the Battle of the Somme. The Igguldens even include the long-lost art of tanning a skin and wrapping packages in brown paper and string.

The idea, the authors say, is that courage, risk-taking and a sense of adventure is what being a kid is all about. As for danger, sections on hunting and cooking rabbits and making cloth fireproof may hold more risk than most chapters (including one on how to treat girls), but the overall premise is that learning new skills — and taking a few risks — can be fun.

Weekend Edition Saturday's Scott Simon put some of the book's boyhood skills to the test at the Codfish Park woodworking shop in New York City's East Village where he built a go-cart with Conn Iggulden.

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