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Sir John Hargrave's Mischief Maker's Manual Hardcover – June 11, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up–Though at first glance this handbook may seem like a tween/teen version of William Powell's The Anarchist Cookbook (Barricade, 1990), it's actually a lot more like Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden's innocuous The Dangerous Book for Boys (Collins, 2007). While the focus is on how to execute perfect pranks, and while there is definitely an illicit feel to the book design, there's also strong emphasis on mischief-makers' ethics as defined in a Prankster's Code, which is repeated throughout the book. Among its prescriptions: Always be careful; don't be a bully; do no lasting damage; and be funny. That last edict is a biggie. The book constantly emphasizes that, ultimately, pranks should be creative and harmless enough to be entertaining to parties on both sides of the equation–even if perpetrators have to return to the scene of their crimes to help clean up any lingering messes. While it's destined to be devilishly attractive to reluctant readers, most of the pranks outlined are actually of the dribble-glass and Whoopie cushion variety. But some, like any worthwhile high jinks, could go awry and land pranksters in hot water. If that happens, the manual also provides tips on how to get out of trouble gracefully. Some techniques, like the Ping-Pong ball smoke bomb, may give some professionals pause, no matter how many safety guidelines accompany them.–Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI
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...this compact vade mecum will thrill armchair jokers and may be taken to heart by a few of the active sort too. ---Kirkus Reviews
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Top Customer Reviews
I couldn't possibly write a review of this book without first comparing it to The Dangerous Book for Boys. It's in a similar fashion, but in my opinion, better executed. This book has a lot of material I would have LOVED to have when I was younger (actually... I'm still pretty excited about it now). I feel like The Dangerous Book for Boys only has about 30% of worthwhile content. Boys like to cause trouble. Simple as that, and this book helps to do so in a non-destructive way, which is ultimately the most important lesson.
From a publishing standpoint, this book is fantastic. The quality of the book overall is above and beyond just about any other book in its class. From the recipe inserts, to the illustrations on every page, to the size of the book overall, this book begs to be on any child's shelf or in their backpack for... "extra-curricular activities."
I don't have kids of my own, but I can immediately see the bonding that can be had from a book like this. I'm excited to get outside (now that the weather is nice again in New England) with my little cousin and start having fun. I play a fair share of video games, but he beats me hands down on hours logged, which I feel is just a shame when you're a young'un since there's so much trouble to cause in the world. Hopefully, he'll find that going out and causing some mischief is just way more fun than doing something similar in a video game. Plus, when it's time to go in at night, he can fill in all of his accomplishments on the accompanying website to the book.
If there's a young person in your life you're looking to bond with, or you're just immature (I'm both), then this is a must-buy.
Once I recieved the book, I started skimming through it. Depending on the personality and mentality of the child, this book could potentially encourage a child to get into some serious trouble. As a parent, I would be pretty upset if I found my child reading this.
A portion of the book discusses how to avoid getting caught - disguises to wear, excuses, and stealth tactics. I must admit, the advice seems pretty good and would probably work.
The mischeif suggestions could seriously corrupt a child. As an adult just reading them for fun I found them hillarous. The mischeif suggestions ranged from making misleading signs - such as posting a sign on the speaker at a fast food drive through that reads "speaker not working - please shout your order as loudly as you can" to things such as changing the wording on the digital highway signs (which could be dangerous).
My copy of the book will not be given to a child because I found it to be inappropriate, hoowever I did have a copy sent to my adult sister a few states away because I think she'd get a kick out of it.