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The American Boy's Handy Book

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,154 ratings  ·  39 reviews
An 1890 manual of pasttimes which includes instructions for making kites, fishing poles, a blow gun, boats, and theatrical costumes, and for raising dogs, stuffing animals, stocking an aquarium, and camping.
Paperback, 441 pages
Published July 16th 2010 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published 1880)
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,154 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Andrew Crouthamel
Apr 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Some of the items are not legal in many states anymore, but still great knowledge anyway. Lots of ideas for fun outside, still relevant to modern day due to people trying to get off computers now. Make sure to check other books by Daniel Carter Beard, he wrote several on wilderness survival and shelters.
Kevin Driskill
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: how-to
Americana between two covers. This book is a gem and an amazing glimpse into our past. The only problem with this book is that it is so inspiring. I have far too little free time to add the number of projects I now want to do after reading this treasure. You have been warned.
David R. Godine
Dec 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
"If Huckleberry Finn were to settle down, somewhere out there in the territory, and decide to become an author, he might very well come up with a book like this one . . . evoking the kind of boyhood that nearly every American man would like to have had himself, and hope that his son (or daughter) might still enjoy."
Washington Post Book World

"The Handy Book was the perfect survival manual. It contained plans for 16 kinds of kites and hot-air balloons and fishing tackle. It told you how to make
Joseph Leskey
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: About anybody, but I would suggest caution
This is a most excellent book, filled to the… uh… back cover with [informative] categorized information on survival and the like. It also includes much on other subjects such as indoor entertainment and animals. All together, it makes for a most excellent guide. Notwithstanding, I would advise a certain degree of caution. Why? Well, on page 320, I believe, it tells of how blowing on a dog's nose will make the animal rub it, an action which can then be associated with a command. And that was how ...more
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to this book that I learned at an early age that it's not only possible but fun and invigorating to make your own toys. Although some of the ingredients for the many projects this book contains are no longer readily available (see the snowball fight shield crafted from barrel staves), the ingenuity this book roused out of me keeps me wondering even to this day if I could just as soon make something myself rather than buy it.
Sarah Cherry
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference-shelf
The American Boy’s Handy Book: What to Do and How to Do It, Centennial Edition
Beard, D.C. (2010). American Boys Handy Book: What to Do and How to Do It, Centennial Edition. Jaffrey, NH: Godine Publishing.
Reviewed By: Sarah Cherry
Type of Reference: Handbook
Description: This is a reference book for young boys grade 4 and older I felt it would be useful for many projects as well as boys who want to just get off the couch and try some do it yourself projects. It contains many projects that include e
Michael Lunsford
It's like the survivor man show in a book with other fun and neat projects. Originally published in 1880. The Author is one of founders of the Boy Scouts of America. Timeless do-it-yourself fun projects for boys preteen-age on up.

Covers trapping, skinning, taxidermy, watercraft building, capturing and training wild birds (ie. crows, falcons, etc), model hot-air-balloons, making your own fishing reel and pole, aquarium, whip-bow, blow-gun, elder-gun, boomerang, outdoor shelters, home made kites,
Cindy Griffin
The American Boy s Handy Book by D.C. Beard is a delightful read. The book, first published in 1882, is a travel back to a simpler, more innocent time. Young at heart men and women of all ages will find the book wonderfully enjoyable. There is something for everyone here whether you want to know how to make your own kite or how to raise wild birds. I heartedly recommend this book to everyone! I can think of no one who would not enjoy this romp back to the childhoods of our past. ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was an interesting look at what were considered appropriate pass times for boys in the 19th century and a great sources of ideas for good clean fun. Taxidermy might be considered gross by modern standards, though, but I guess boys just might have more of a stomach for that kind of thing, though girls' books set in the same time period such as the Anne of Avonlea series write of girls having to kill and pluck chickens and other fowl as part of their chores and cooking dinner.
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature-crafts
Arcane but wonderful back to basics crafts, nature, learning and fun for children - and us! :)
Boys will forever be boys! And what a book to show us how and illuminate the way.
Steve Are
Jan 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: omst
before there were Boy Scouts, there was mr. beard, who must have been one precocious boy. how to survive 'off the grid' for youngsters.
Jan 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Great!!!! Hours of fun for boy's!!!
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, how-to, childrens
What a wonderful compilation of interesting, outdoorsy activities!
Rachel Nickens
I wouldn't recommending gifting this to a child as a practical guide for outdoor fun. Some of the suggestions are downright terrifying by modern standards (Arsenic paint in your child's bedroom taxidermy projects? Homemade fireworks for kids? Sounds like fun!). This book also has a fair bit of racist and sexist language.

However, as a piece of American history, it's fascinating. I read this because of its link to my dissertation research. Daniel Carter Beard formed the "Sons of Daniel Boone" in
Carolyn Page
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by the founder of the Boy Scouts of America, this book is a fun read and still usable today. The companion book, "American Girls Handy Book" I found more fun, but that's probably because I'm a girly girl. Fun stuff in this book for either gender!
William Bryant
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great guide to older skills. A little hard to read.
David MacLean
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting only problem was not all of the supplies are easy to find if you don't live by the ocean.
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
The American Boy’s Handy Book by Daniel Beard is a guide book for boys. It includes directions for knots, kite building, camping without a tent, and how to build a snow fort, just to name a few. The book was originally published in 1882 and is filled with black and white drawings. While I think it’s wonderful to introduce young boys to the joys of the outdoors, they will have some difficulty with the language of the book. The chapter on Knots, Bends, and Hitches starts like this: “The art of tyi ...more
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much more dangerous than that other book, written in the 1870s by a founder of the Boy Scouts. War kites, raise your own hawk, practical taxidermy for boys, whipbows, how to make your own blowgun, magic lanterns, DIY shadowpuppetry, and more. Highly recommended.

Already gave to a friend and his son who live in rural Tennessee. Will happily give to age appropriate girls as well. Interestingly enough, the Girls' Handy Book from the same time is lame-o while the Daring Book for Girls far outstrip
David Ward
The American Boy's Handy Book by Daniel Beard (Scribner 1890) (790.194). This volume from the late nineteenth century has taught many generations of boys how to make mischief on a shoestring budget - or with a shoestring! The book gave me many hours of pleasure as a child. My rating: 7.5/10, finished 1968.
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had three boys and before that three sisters, what did I know of being a boy or what to do with boys - thank goodness for books like this. Not only did it help me with activities to do with my boys it also gave me a feel of how boys think. This was also an invaluable tool that I used as a cub scout parent.
Abigail Andrew
Dec 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in old time projects.
It's a great book for learning what was expected of boys in the late 1800s. There's lots of crafts and and outdoor projects that can still be done if you live in a wooded area, and detailed drawings and instructions
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
How can you not love a book that says things like this:
"Do not have china swans floating about on the surface [of your aquarium],nor ruined castles submerged beneath the surface. Such things are in bad taste."
David Mills
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Dan Beard's practical and historically prosaic advise for those interested in childhood in times past and/or survival in expeditionary in present situation. I've used Beard's advise in equal measure with my kids in the backyard and with Marine's in the bush.
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The most awesome book of my childhood. I'll never forget the day when my parents gave me this book. This is the rite of passage for any little guy who wants to entertain himself in the great outdoors!
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was available in my town library growing up. I adored it, though I only ever tried a handful of the things it described how to do. I am so glad this came up in my recommendations as I had completely forgotten it!
This book is an amazing throw-back to the days of yesteryear, before Ipods and Game Boys. A time when kids used to entertain themselves by the kinds of things they could do out in nature. I sure miss those times.
Joyce Roderick
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fun, some of it downright dangerous, unPC and counter ecological, but fun. What our grandfathers did. Mine was born in 1885', and I can clearly seem him and brother, Clyde tinkering with these suggestions.
Nov 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's like a manual on how to be a member of the Little Rascals. Great stuff on snowball fights and traps. Some of the stuff is insanely dangerous, like creating paper hot air balloons with open flames in them, or how to build a gun.
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AoM Essential Man...: American Boys' Handy book 1 5 May 01, 2015 09:28AM  

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Daniel Carter "Uncle Dan" Beard was an American illustrator, author, youth leader, and social reformer who founded the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905, which Beard later merged with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).