April 28, 2007

Boy book



April 28, 2007 -- BLEARY-EYED, pasty and overweight? No, not the IT department - boys.

Since the advent of the microchip and, later, the Internet, boyhood seems to have morphed from outdoor frolics, imagination and storytelling into an indoor quest for hand-eye coordination and depersonalized home-alone "social" networking.

With their runaway British best-seller "The Dangerous Book for Boys" (Collins Books, $25.95), author brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden offer a guide to bringing back the boyhood of yore:

"In this age of video games and mobile phones, there must still be a place for knots, treehouses and stories of incredible courage," they write.

So saying, this delightful collection of old-fashioned mischief includes instructions on making invisible ink, constructing slingshots and building a go-cart.

Granted, their section on hunting and cooking rabbits isn't really applicable to most New York City youth, but it's always nice to be prepared.

Along with instructions on making things, there are inspirational tales about explorers and adventurers, information on spiders and insects, plus answers to questions that plague even adults, such as "Why is the sky blue?" and "Why do ships sail against the wind?"

There's even a chapter called "Girls," in which the authors dispense sage advice such as, "If you see a girl in need of help - unable to lift something, for example - do not taunt her" and "Excitable bouts of wind-breaking will not endear you to a girl" - tidbits some grown men have yet to master.

"The one thing that we always say about childhood is that we seemed to have more time back then," the brothers write. "This book will help you recapture those Sunday afternoons and long summers - because they're still long if you know how to look at them."

Aimed at boys "ages 8 to 80," the book hits shelves Tuesday.