A guide to canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding for kids.
The emphasis on fun in the subtitle says a lot about how useful this guide will be to newbie paddlers. The opening sets up a first-world versus third-world dichotomy that may seem patronizing. While the guide does solidly cover the parts and uses of each watercraft, the descriptions are wishy-washy, and the pictures don’t always match. For example, “A kayak has a deck that covers the top of the boat” appears opposite a photo of two children on sit-on-top kayaks. Some advice offered here is solid, including using dry bags for gear, cleaning boats of all water plants, and wearing PFDs. Some is superficial: Several paddling strokes are mentioned, but only one is shown. And some is not good. A float plan is important, but taping it to a car window might lead to theft, and packing nose plugs in case of capsizing suggests that paddlers will have time to don them before tipping over. Companion guide Hiking is the stronger title that will provide readers with the knowledge they need to truly get out in the wild. Recommendations about clothing, shoes, and gear are balanced with reality: “If sneakers are all you’ve got, go for it.” Other excellent advice includes not relying on a cellphone, drinking only water from home (nothing is said about found berries and plants), and using trail etiquette. Both books include ideas for places to hike and paddle, emphasizing state and national parks. Neither teaches kids anything about using the embedded compass (“Take a class!”), exposing it as a mere gimmick.
Paddle past this one; hike instead. (table of contents, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)