Any scout knows how important it is to be prepared, and this is a lesson that any child with an interest in the outdoors should learn as early as possible. In “Go Wild!: 101 Things to Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up,” authors Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks provide a plethora of useful tips for overcoming any number of wilderness challenges.
Main topics include foraging, finding shelter, preparing meals, working with tools and weapons, dealing with fire, having a ready supply of water and staying safe in the outdoors. Each section includes several subsections that cover more specific issues within the general topic. Most pages feature photographs that dramatically illustrate the point at hand, and detailed processes often incorporate bullet points so that each step of the way is clearly delineated.
“Go Wild!: 101 Things to Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up” a book that encourages participation in and respect for nature. For instance, in the fire section, the authors urge campers never to leave a fire unattended and tell them to bring all litter along with them, waiting to deposit it in an appropriate receptacle.
In the foraging section, they talk of removing edible plants from their environment, but only in small portions, usually to supplement food brought from home. They warn against over-harvesting, and they make it clear that you should never trust a plant’s edibility without consulting a field guide. The photographs and descriptions in this section are especially useful, giving readers a good idea what types of plants are safe to eat.
While a majority of the book is purely informational, the authors do sprinkle in some anecdotes here and there about their personal experiences involving taking children out in the wilderness. They use the example of their own teenagers, who were initially reluctant to spend the day outside instead of watching television or playing video games. There is a clear bias here against electronic devices and more sedentary activities, but that’s to be expected in a book like this.
There is an old-fashioned quality to “Go Wild!: 101 Things to Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up” that makes it seem like it was published several decades ago rather than today, if not for the references to the Internet. Still, this a a book loaded with interesting tidbits and advice for families hoping to find new ways of spending time together and appreciating the environment. For $25, the 160-page book is a pretty solid read, and I’d give it four out of five stars.