Illustrated and edited by the Unknown Adventurer, Teddy Keen

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books ISBN: 9781786032966

Reviewed by Georgia Luckman

While we are now nesting inside to #stopthespread many are taking actions to develop new skills and creativity from the safety of our homes. This book could be a key resource for you if you’re a lover of the outdoors and have thought about brushing up on your practical skills for when we’re able to once again freely roam the world!

When it is safe to do so we will undoubtably all head for the mountains and forests to reconnect with nature. My feeling is that the Lost Book of Adventure could have each of us confident to survive outdoors in the wild, by June. It’s got all the skills you could have picked up in school DofE (Duke of Edinburgh Award) without the gruelling hikes or being pitted against kids you might not choose to regularly spend time with.

It’s really no surprise to hear this debut book attracted an incredible eight-publisher auction – meaning a substantial number of publishers each bargained to first publish the book. ‘The Lost Book of Adventure’ is a mammoth two hundred illustrated pages in length, with tips and advice that will appeal to not just the smallest courageous kid – but also the most grown-up adults looking for how to best survive in the outdoors.

While this is published in Frances Lincoln children section – this is no overnight read, you will want to return to it often to absorb the whole book. With a textural hardback binding, a golden embossed cover and fully illustrated interior, this collection feels like a treasure to keep and read often over time.

The book is broken down into stories of the author’s adventures and interlaced with practical tips and instructions (build your own shelters; understand stargazing; how to navigate printed maps) and much more.

Each double page spread is cast with clear and educational drawings and the entire volume has been created in the traditional colours of a colouring pencil set – which highlights the huge effort the illustrator/editor has contributed, and might just inspire you as a reader to pack colouring pencils in your own personal survival kit!

Teddy Keen is titled as the book editor, introducing readers to this body of work as ‘found stories’ collated together in a four-year period after being ‘found’ on an expedition through a remote part of the Amazon. The stories are said to be written by an Anonymous artist called ‘The Unknown Illustrator’ which offers an interesting dynamic to the book. The relationship is preserved throughout the book with handwritten text and stories from this Unknown traveller.

An extraordinary amount of research has been compiled into this book and from our eyes much of the instructions are accurate and useful for children (and adults). It even starts with a written intro to promote safe practice – and ensure young readers take these skills to adventure under the supervision of an adult.

I’m learning a lot from this book, and though I found the small text a bit challenging in places it didn’t affect my overall impression of the book – and I have enjoyed the journey!

3rd April 2020

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