Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Non-fiction book review - Be a Survivor

Be a Survivor by Chris Oxlade

Many kids go through a phase where they become fascinated with survival, usually around the fifth or sixth grades (often after reading a book like Hatchet or My Side of the Mountain) so it’s helpful to have good survival books available that are aimed at young readers. This book has a number of rather practical tips: making shelter, collecting water, making fire, and getting found. I do have some complaints:
1. After describing how to make a simple shelter with a tree it describes how to build an A-frame, should no appropriate tree be available. Just the A-frame, not how to use the frame to create a shelter. While one could perhaps figure it out given the previous instructions, I find explicit instructions far easier for kids to understand.
2. The section on igloos explains how to make snow bricks with a plastic box. While that is useful, I’d have liked to have seen a side note on making bricks when you don’t have such a box.
3. While a list of edible plants is helpful, this book provides no way to identify said plants. If I don’t know what a blueberry bush looks like, knowing that it is edible does me no good.
Most importantly:
4. The knife safety rules aren’t included until after the tips that use a knife. A kid isn’t likely  to flip ahead in a book to read safety tips before jumping into a project. Personally, I’d have preferred to see those safety rules right at the front of the book along with some fire safety rules.
This book does have good information. The section on collecting water, in particular, is surprisingly thorough. I wouldn’t give it to a kid without proper supervision, though. 

Advance Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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