New for the Bookshelf

By Karen Berger
Photographs By John R. Fulton, Jr.

Armchair hikers, dog lovers, shutterbugs, and astronomy buffs will want to check out these books, as well as a classic BSA movie from Walt Disney Pictures.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006, paperback, $13.95.

In a world of portable media players, high-speed Internet, instant messaging, and cell phones, children are increasingly separated from nature by an electronic screen. As featured in the May-June issue of Scouting, noted author Richard Louv argues that youngsters' lack of access to nature may contribute to such problems as childhood obesity and attention deficit disorder. Children need nature, says Louv. And nature needs children, too, or who else will be its advocate when today's toddlers become tomorrow's policy makers?

Classic Hikes of the World: 23 Breath taking Treks, by Peter Potterfield, W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 2005, $39.95.

What if you could walk anywhere in the world? Colorado or New Hampshire? The Nepal Himalaya or Africa's volcanoes? This book is a dreamer's delight, loaded with photos to get your heart thumping. The author describes 11 trails in North America, including rim-to-rim across the Grand Canyon, California's John Muir Trail, and New Hampshire's White Mountain Traverse. The remaining 12 trails cover five other continents and New Zealand. What this book does best is offer a small taste of hiking opportunities in a variety of environments.

Don't Get Sick: The Hidden Dangers of Camping and Hiking, by Buck Tilton and Rick Bennett, The Mountaineers Books, Seattle, paperback (BSA No. 32227), $6.95.

This book provides concise and useful information for avoiding common backcountry ills (and a few not so common ones). Topics include maintaining a clean and healthful camp, disposing of waste, handling food and treating water, avoiding sharing microbes and diseases, and keeping groups healthy in the outdoors. A good reference book for Boy Scout and Venturing leaders.

Don't Forget the Duct Tape: Tips and Tricks for Repairing Outdoor Gear, by Kristin Hostetter, The Mountaineers Books, Seattle, 2003, paperback (BSA No. 35209), $6.95.

With a simple length of duct tape, you can patch a sleeping pad or keep a delaminated boot trekking for a few extra miles. Using a 12-item repair kit, author and Backpacker magazine gear editor Kristin Hostetter shows how to fix just about anything, from a balky stove to a sputtering water filter. Complete with field-tested solutions, this book is a useful reference for anyone who wants to get extra miles or years out of favorite gear.

Digital Photography Outdoors: A Field Guide for Travel and Adventure Photographers, by James Martin, The Mountaineers Books, Seattle, 2004, paperback, $16.95.

Despite the growing popularity of digital cameras, the old rules for taking good photographs still apply. With that in mind, James Martin reviews the traditional techniques of lighting, composition, and framing. He also discusses the new digital equipment and how it can be utilized in an outdoor setting. A chapter on the digital darkroom—also known as your computer—describes software, file storage, and the digital editing process that makes digital photography a two-step process.

Stikky Trees (2005) and Stikky Night Skies (2004), Laurence Holt Books, New York, paperback, $12 each.

These utterly absorbing books make sense out of what outdoors people want to know about but always seem to get confused.

Stikky Trees and Stikky Night Skies promise, respectively, that you will learn to identify the 15 most common trees in the United States and "six constellations, four stars, a planet, a galaxy, and how to navigate at night" in one hour—guaranteed.

In easy, step-by-step fashion, the books isolate recognizable features of trees and stars. Pictures, mnemonic devices, wordplay, and repetition reinforce and review the key features.

Geocaching: Hike and Seek With Your GPS, by Erik Sherman, Apress, Berkeley, Calif., 2004, $19.99.

Geocaching is gaining popularity among Scouts nationwide. Think of the activity as a high-tech treasure hunt, combining arcane clues, obscure puzzles, and outdoor adventure ranging from hiking to climbing to kayaking to scuba diving—all brought up to date by GPS (global positioning system) technology and the Internet.

Geocachers hide boxes containing souvenir prizes, then post clues on an Internet site. Participants search for the boxes and collect the prizes inside. This book contains an introduction to basic outdoor navigation skills, including reading topographic maps, finding your way with an old-fashioned compass, and using a GPS receiver.

Backpacking and Hiking (Eyewitness Companions), by Karen Berger, DK Adult, New York, 2005, paperback, $20.

If you've enjoyed Scouting's "Outdoor Smarts" column, you might want to check out the author's newest book. Backpacking and Hiking is a fully illustrated guide to all aspects of the sport. Containing more than 1,000 full-color illustrations, the book offers step-by-step instructions on subjects ranging from gear to trip planning to trail and camping techniques to first aid and emergency management. It also includes a section on worldwide dream trips, as well as a lengthy list of resources for American hiking trails.

Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog, by John Grogan, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2005, $21.95.

Labradors are the quintessential family dog: reliable, friendly, and obedient. And then there was Marley, who as a puppy was "young and wired, with the attention span of algae and the volatility of nitroglycerine." Marley, you might say, was the anti-retriever: He flunked out of obedience school and had his own ideas about common retriever habits like chewing slippers. (Marley went for such delicacies as a used pregnancy test, mangoes from the family's tree, and a gold necklace.) This laugh-out-loud book examines a difficult, but ultimately loving relationship with an incorrigible canine.

"Follow Me, Boys!" Walt Disney Pictures DVD (BSA No. 30506), $19.95.

Staring Fred MacMurray and based on the book God and My Country by MacKinlay Kantor, this 1966 classic feature is now available on DVD. MacMurray portrays a one-time jazz musician turned store clerk whose career ambitions and life plans change course when he becomes a Boy Scout leader in a small town. Complete with cliff-hangers, Dickensian villains, and a roughneck kid turned solid citizen, this heartwarming film shows that while times (not to mention gear) have changed, the essence of Scouting remains the same.

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Copyright © 2006 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Scouting magazine or on its Web site may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. Because of freedom given authors, opinions may not reflect official concurrence.