Author Topic: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook  (Read 2068 times)

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Offline MacGyver

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March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« on: March 12, 2013, 10:14:54 AM »
In order to keep the Book Club going for this year, I'm stepping in to take this month. Of course, all of the members here are encouraged to take a turn and thus help us get a greater variety of both book selection and views on the books. So this preamble is basically just to say that I would prefer that no one has to double up but that's okay if needs be sometimes. Everyone has busy lives and other things to take care of and that's certainly understood.

So anyway- I'm doing something a bit different for this month. This book is a spin-off title published by Simon & Schuster through their Wanderer Books imprint in 1980. The Hardy Boys Handbook: Seven Stories of Survival is the name it was printed as in the USA. It is a pretty scarce title to come by today and so I realize not everyone on here may have a copy of this book. I happen to have a British printing of it myself, where it was titled The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook (with the subtitle: Thrilling Stories of Danger in the Wilds). Just to make it easier and because of my own familiarity with the title, I'll just refer to it as The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook.
        This book is listed as being written by Franklin W. Dixon with Sheila Link, who was a survival instructor at the time. The information is therefore verified good information to use for survival skills, camping and outdoor life and in general, etc.
The book is broken up into 8 short stories and so this is one difference from a standard Hardy Boys book. And since the theme and focus is on survival skills, there are really no mysteries Frank and Joe are involved in solving in this book (outside of something like the "mystery" of where Joe is located when he gets lost in one of the stories.)
       Despite the lack of the usual mystery motif, I still find these stories quite adventurous, informative and interesting to read. The author definitely had a good understanding of who The Hardy Boys are and how they should be written, in my opinion. I don't know if that is solely because of Simon & Schuster's guidelines or because of a familiarity the author may have already had with the books or both- but in any case, I think it is well put together.
Here is a breakdown of the chapters of the book:

?Frank and Joe Pack Survival Kits
?Winter Wilderness: Joe saves Frank from hypothermia
?Lonely Ordeal: An injury strands Joe in the Adirondacks
?Whitewater!: River rafting turns into frightening drama
?Desperation in the Desert: Cannibalize a car, if necessary, to save your life
?The Unheard Flood Warning: The Hardy Boys and friends are trapped in a flooded house
?Jungle Plane Crash: Short plane flight results in high adventure
?Rescue!: The Hardy Boys save the lives of three starving young men stranded in the wilderness

(For those without the book particularly, the link to The Hardy Boys Wiki page on this book may prove helpful. That page also has a quote from Sheila Link which offers some interesting tidbits about this book. Apparently it was the first Hardy Boys book to receive fan mail. [This was a claim from Simon & Schuster, who would have just recently gained the rights to the series at that point. I wonder if they meant it was the first fan mail for a Hardy Boys book that they had published? Or perhaps the first fan mail directly about a specific book versus a general fan letter to Franklin W. Dixon in appreciation of The Hardy Boys series as a whole? I myself wrote such a letter to Franklin W. Dixon when I was in the third grade. :) 8)]
The size of the book is also different from other Hardy Boys books.)


« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 08:29:10 AM by MacGyver »
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Offline MacGyver

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2013, 10:38:36 AM »
It may also be worth looking back at this thread where I posted the cover artwork for the Wanderer printing of the book (the artwork by itself that is- not the finished cover art of the book). AlwaysAJoeFan kindly provided scans of Chapter 1 in that thread so that would be a good introduction for those who haven't been able to read the book yet.
      For those who have read the book and/or have a copy, what thoughts or comments do you have this? Do you like this book? Would this have made a good spin-off series perhaps- focusing on adventure stories in the outdoors with The Hardy Boys, with minimal or no emphasis on mysteries? (Not that I would want the "main" series, as it were, to stop. I still want to see The Hardy Boys solving mysteries as that's primarily what they do. However, it could be interesting to have a separate series like this in addition. I had earlier actually postulated an idea like this, based on the title of the new series, Hardy Boys Adventures.)
     
      As to my thoughts on the book, I will say that I have read and reread this one. It's one of my favorites of the various spin-off books out there. And even though there are no real mysteries here for Frank and Joe to solve, the book does feature a test of their survival skills and it is a great showcase of the resourcefulness they have always shown in the book series. The dangerous situations that Frank and Joe get into are certainly ones that I can see happening in the midst of one of their cases. And the tips given are practical and useful, with good examples and illustrations to make it easy to understand.
      The introductory story kicks things off with Frank and Joe sharing some basics that they learned from a survival course that Fenton signed them up to do. To this day, I still remember the rule of 3 that I learned from this book as a kid- a human being can typically survive for 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.
     And Frank and Joe then pack personal survival kits for themselves as well as some larger ones for their car and boat. I remember getting excited just reading this first chapter and trying to assemble such a survival kit for myself when I was a kid. My brother and I were both into The Hardy Boys and both excited to try out these survival skills on our next camping trip or something. (We did some hikes around the neighborhood every now and then on a weekend- that was fun.) And of course, as Cub Scouts, this also appealed greatly to me and my brother. I think that's partly also why I'm such a huge fan of MacGyver, as the character MacGyver is a huge outdoorsman with lots of resourcefulness and survival skills- and he uses his wits and ever-present Swiss Army Knife and duct tape to help him get out of jams and stop the bad guys. There are other reasons for my love of this show [also largely because of the many Christian virtues MacGyver espouses- though he's certainly not perfect], but I won't go into all of that here. But MacGyver was also a Boy Scout as well and even quotes the Boy Scout's motto in "The Guantlet" episode- "Be prepared." :) 8)
And Joe mentions in the first story that he and Frank were in the Scouts too! :) 8)
     Anyway, the point was that these are some reasons that this book was particularly captivating for me as a young boy. I think the spirit of adventure particularly calls to boys in general, though certainly girls can find this appealing as well. (And keep in mind that this is a generalization- I realize it certainly isn't true for every boy and every girl.)
       
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 04:31:43 PM by MacGyver »
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Offline MacGyver

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2013, 10:51:22 AM »
(For ease of reference, I'll list the chapter titles and descriptions here again. Note: These are the actual titles for Chapters 1-8. The titles include a subtitle that offers a description within.)
?Chapter 1: Frank and Joe Pack Survival Kits
?Chapter 2: Winter Wilderness: Joe saves Frank from hypothermia
?Chapter 3: Lonely Ordeal: An injury strands Joe in the Adirondacks
?Chapter 4: Whitewater!: River rafting turns into frightening drama
?Chapter 5: Desperation in the Desert: Cannibalize a car, if necessary, to save your life
?Chapter 6: The Unheard Flood Warning: The Hardy Boys and friends are trapped in a flooded house
?Chapter 7: Jungle Plane Crash: Short plane flight results in high adventure
?Chapter 8: Rescue!: The Hardy Boys save the lives of three starving young men stranded in the wilderness

After the introductory chapter, I like that we get stories dealing with specific situations that cover a lot of weather extremes- extreme cold in the first story, where Joe saves Frank from hypothermia. And then we also have extreme heat when Frank and Joe are stranded in the desert. It's also nice to have a story where Joe saves Frank and then right after that we have a story where Frank saves Joe after he becomes injured and lost in the Adiriondacks mountains.
        Frank and Joe also survive having their raft capsizing when riding the whitewater rapids and then the desert story I mentioned, where they take apart a new car Mr. Hardy had ordered to make use of it for different purposes in order to survive when they get stranded in the desert. (Definitely a MacGyver moment here. ;) 8))
We also have a story where Frank and Joe survive a flood while trapped in a house. And then they are caught in a plane crash in the jungle and have to help their pilot with medical attention as well as get themselves rescued.
    The last one is probably one of my favorites because it involves Frank and Joe camping and hiking through the wilderness and they wind up running into three unexperienced campers and hikers who are starving to death without any food. And of course, Frank and Joe are able to help them gather food in the wild and help nurse them back to health and rescue.
   There are a lot of great tips about everything from fishing to catching small animals with snares to knowing what kinds of fruits and vegetables and plants are edible and safe to eat.
      I think we get a good look at Frank and Joe's resourcefulness and know-how in this chapter particularly, but certainly also their compassion for anyone in need. They approached the three friends in a kind way and were able to teach them without harshly reprimanding or criticizing them. I really appreciated that aspect of the story. And of course, Frank and Joe always keep a positive and optimistic outlook- which is crucial for survival. As they say in this book, those who believe they will survive generally do, but those who have given up hope many times do wind up not making it. (This is another trait MacGyver shares with The Hardy Boys. Like The Goonies, they never say die! 8))
       I should also note that some of the other characters from The Hardy Boys series show up here and there. Fenton Hardy is at least mentioned in the first story. (And that one is set at the Hardy home in Bayport, for the record.) The rest of the stories are at different places.) Fenton shows up again in Chapter 5 where he makes an actual appearance.
In Chapter 4, Frank and Joe are on the whitewater rafting trip with some of their chums, Tony Prito and Phil Cohen.
       Anyway, overall my review of this book is that it is a great, fun and educational entry to The Hardy Boys library and it is a great companion piece for these detectives, as survival skills often seem to be needed in detective work, as The Hardy Boys have proven you can get into several dire and sticky situations. I really enjoy this book and I recommend it to all Hardy Boys fans- it appeals to younger and older fans alike. :) 8)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 04:35:26 PM by MacGyver »
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"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline tomswift2002

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2013, 03:14:00 PM »
Over on the Hardy Boys Wikia the author of the book, Sheila Link, had this too say:



Your reference to me as "co-author" of the Hardy Boys Handbook - Seven Stories of Survival" is incorrect. I am the author of the entire book and I also did some of the line drawings - not those showing the boys or the delicate ones of edible plants, but the drawings of survival kit contents and solar still. Franklin W. Dixon, the so-called 'author' was a pen name given a non-existent person and used for all the Hardy Boy books which were written by a stable of writers who worked for the Stratemyer family before Simon & Schuster bought them - and apparently continues using thst name. My contract with S&S was a "write got hire" arrangement. When I was contacted by 'Wanderer' and asked to do the book, I refused unles my name went on the cover. S&S finally agreed to "by Franklin W. Dixon ''with ''Sheila Link".... Two asides: I was told by S&S that this was the first H-B book to ever get fan mail. Also: S&S foolishly (I believe) published this one in a size format different from the other H-B/ N-D books. Booksellers couldn't fit it in their specially-sized shelves and therefore didn't buy it! (signed) Sheila K. Link - currently New Products Ed. & Features Writer for WOMEN & GUNS.

Also, in 1980 the Hardy Boys were still owned by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, so unless Wanderer specially commissioned this book themselves, with the Syndicate's permission, I think Ms. Link's memory as to who the contract actually was with may be a little faded.

Also, the fourth story, "Whitewater!" acts kind of as a prequel to #80 "The Roaring River Mystery".
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 03:33:20 PM by tomswift2002 »
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Offline MacGyver

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 04:29:23 PM »
Quote
Also, the fourth story, "Whitewater!" acts kind of as a prequel to #80 "The Roaring River Mystery".
Never really thought about that, but I guess it kinda does. Good observation. :) 8)
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Offline MacGyver

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 04:45:57 PM »
Now that I have the book in front of me, I can point out a few more things. I noticed that in Chapter 5, Joe fiddles with the radio to find a station that he likes and mentions that he wished he had brought his tapes. [Of course, I wonder if in 1980 he was talking about the standard cassette tapes people probably think of now or the 8 track tapes that would have still been in circulation at that point. :)]
Anyway, he apparently likes modern jazz music according to this book, which is interesting to me. For some reason I generally picture Joe as more of a hard rocker and Frank as the one who likes jazz music. But Frank is shown to like The Rolling Stones in Too Many Traitors (#14 in The Hardy Boys Casefiles), so it's nice to see that both Frank and Joe can appreciate different kinds of music and break out of their stereotypical expectations at times.
     Of course, in Chapter 6 Joe has a new album for Frank and their friends Ralph and Harry Clark to hear and he sticks the cartridge into the car's tape deck that they're all riding in. The book mentions that "the four boys listened appreciatively to the rhythmic beat of Joe's favorite band," so I'm guessing this one is a rock band.
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"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline MacGyver

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 05:03:17 PM »
The other thing I like about this book is that all the places mentioned are real places and not just made up locations. That's pretty cool because that makes the book double as a travel guide for outdoor camping and hiking trips in some of the stories. ;D 8)
Of course, that makes sense because the book notes that all the stories of survival in the book are based on a real life event. As the book puts it, "Each of the seven stories of survival were drawn from an actual experience. The survival equipment and methods recommended have been field-tested by the consultant."
(This is a note on the page right before the first story. That's a pretty neat way to work in the American title of the book as well.) I also really love Leslie Morrill's illustrations- not only do they make the stories come alive, they also are very useful in giving visual guides on how to build some of the lean-tos described in the book and other things. It's particularly useful in Chapter 8 for giving an illustration of what some of the edible plants mentioned look like. The illustrations seem very similar to the Wanderer illustrations, which makes sense as I'm pretty sure Leslie Morrill did most all those illustrations as well.
          The book also includes a glossary at the end and this is certainly helpful as well in explaining terms. There are also a few footnotes in the book that offer explanations of terms as well. And the visual guides for constructing various items throughout the book also have instructions accompanying them, making it all very easy to follow. In addition, each chapter has a summary box which offers the main points of the chapter and the key take away tips to remember.
       I was thinking that Jack Wayne was the pilot in Chapter 7, but I checked the book and saw that it's a different, previously unheard-of character used instead. That could've been a nice place for Jack to appear, but oh well. It was nice to get an appearance from some of the chums and Fenton Hardy in any case.
      And at least for the British version, there is a promotional blurb for The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories on the back of the book, with the covers of select Collins hardback/ Armada paperback titles: The Mystery of Cabin Island, The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge, The Twisted Claw, The Yellow Feather Mystery, The Secret of the Old Mill and What Happened at Midnight. They did well to choose books that had cover art depicting some similar outdoor scenes to the scenes depicted in The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook. And of course, there is also a list of some of The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories titles inside the book as well.
     Well, those are my observations on the book anyway. It is laid out very well overall and I think it's a nice, fun and practical and useful book to have in a Hardy Boys collection. :) 8)
       
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline MacGyver

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 05:29:50 PM »
Okay- one last point. The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook is also a nice follow-up and companion to The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook and is the first of the Hardy Boys spin-off books. Of course, The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook was first printed in 1959 and then revised and reprinted in 1972. And when you put those two together with the other spinoff books like Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys: Super Sleuths!, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys: Super Sleuths! 2, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys Campfire Stories and The Hardy Boys Ghost Stories, they make a neat set that all seem to be set in the same continuity too. It'd be pretty nice if Wanderer had put together a collector's box set for these titles. I can see them all going together. (And they could even expand it to include some of the Nancy Drew spinoff books- Nancy Drew Ghost Stories, Nancy Drew Ghost Stories 2 and The Nancy Drew Sleuth Book: Clues to Good Sleuthing, and maybe even The Nancy Drew Cookbook: Clues to Good Cooking, while we're at it. (However, I'm not sure that that last title came in a paperback edition or even a similarly sized hardback to all the others. Though admittedly, the following titles- The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook, The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook and The Nancy Drew Sleuth Book: Clues to Good Sleuthing- all, as far as I know, have different sizes from the other titles I listed earlier.)
(I don't think My Nancy Drew Datebook and Homework Planner and My Nancy Drew Private Eye Diary would quite fit into this mix as well- lol. ;D) [By the way, if you're interested in seeing pictures of some of those Nancy Drew collectibles and read more about them, check this Web site. :) 8)]
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline MacGyver

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2013, 05:35:17 PM »
For the record, Fenton Hardy is also mentioned in Chapter 7. There seem to be a couple of times in this book where Frank and Joe are travelling somewhere to meet their dad. This is definitely consistent with book the original series books and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries TV show for that matter.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline Bigfootman

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2013, 09:28:30 PM »
While I don't own the book (I rarely order stuff from amazon, and it's hard finding softcovers in used book stores), I did do a google search on the author, Sheila Link.

Sheila Link wrote one other book, the "Woman's Guide to Outdoor Sports".  http://www.amazon.com/Womens-Guide-Outdoor-Sports-Sheila/dp/0876913621

Here's an article by her in the the Febuary 1976 issue Field and Stream Magazine:
http://books.google.ca/books?id=NjWpEJ32MaYC&pg=PA34&dq=Sheila+Link+survival+instructor&hl=en&sa=X&ei=o9ZDUduqKYX02wX2-ICIBA&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Sheila%20Link%20survival%20instructor&f=false

Another article by her:
http://books.google.ca/books?id=AOFHGk_4VcgC&pg=PA87&dq=%22Sheila+Link%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=d9dDUfaRJvTW2wXtzoEI&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=%22Sheila%20Link%22&f=false

Offline tomswift2002

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2013, 02:48:31 PM »
While I don't own the book (I rarely order stuff from amazon, and it's hard finding softcovers in used book stores), I did do a google search on the author, Sheila Link.

Sheila Link wrote one other book, the "Woman's Guide to Outdoor Sports". 

Well, considering that both the hardcover and softcover versions of this book are pretty scarce, you might only find them online. 

But with that Outdoor Sports book, without seeing the book to see who is credited as illustrator, I'd say that cover definitely resembles some of the drawings in the Hardy Boys Handbook.
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Offline MacGyver

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 06:39:32 AM »
Thanks for the additional research, Dan. Interesting...
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline Bigfootman

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2013, 03:05:25 PM »
Sheila Link also wrote a short story called "Daylight Stalker" which can be found in the book "Heart Shots: Women Write About Hunting". You can see some of it in the Google Book preview.
http://books.google.ca/books?id=ifdWvJuCqVcC&pg=PA137&dq=%22Sheila+Link%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=v8JIUZS2Mear2AWRjIA4&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22Sheila%20Link%22&f=false


Offline MacGyver

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Re: March 2013 Book Club: The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2013, 08:05:27 AM »
okay- cool! 8)
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"