The American Boy’s Handy Book:

What to Do and How to Do It

First published in 1882, but more relevant than ever, this book is a wealth of projects and games, with practical directions on how to make them. Written by one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America, here is the ultimate pre-TV, anti-couch potato activity book, answering the question, “What’s there to do?”

Also see The American Girls Handy Book and The Field and Forest Handy Book.

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 and stock an aquarium, to construct a water telescope and how to camp out without a tent. Or in a hut made from pine boughs. How to build 10 kinds of boats, including a flatboat with a covered cabin. Iceboats, too. One-person canoes. Bird calls. Squirt guns with astonishing range and authority.
Today you can be privy to all these splendid secrets . . . printed on acid-free paper and sewn in signatures, it will last to be handed down to you great-grandboys.
Henry Kisor, The Chicago Sun-Times

Fascinating projects guaranteed to teach and amuse for hours, and, since much has changed since 1882, a lot of those young readers will be girls.
—Saint Petersburg Times

This title is now available as an eBook through Google Play.

Daniel Carter Beard was an artist before he became a scouting pioneer by starting the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905. He was encouraged in his artistic pursuit from an early age; his father, mother, and uncle were all successful artists. In the 1860s, he left his boyhood home in Kentucky to attend art school in New York City, where he joined the Student Art League and befriended illustrious personages such as Ernest Thompson Seton, Mark Twain, and Ernest Cosby. Beard would later illustrate books for Twain and Cosby, among many other authors.

The Sons of Daniel Boone began in a column Beard wrote for a magazine he edited, Recreation. He later moved his column to Woman’s Home Companion, which secured the rights to the group’s name and kept them after the column’s later move to Pictorial ReviewBeard thus changed the name to the Boy Pioneers of America. The renamed group kept its curriculum of healthful exercise and the outdoors traditions of American frontier life, a curriculum that influenced the Boy Scouts of America when the groups merged in 1910. Beard also encouraged girls to get involved in the outdoors lifestyle through his work with his sisters Lina and Adelia Beard, who wrote The American Girls Handy Book and helped start the Camp Fire Girls.