Reviews for Outdoor kids in an inside world : getting your family out of the house and radically engaged with nature

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The noted outdoor adventurer offers antidotes to the soft, media-driven lives of youngsters. Rinella is far from the first writer to lament the “indoorization” of modern kids, but he brings strong credentials to bear as a veteran outdoorsman, Travel Channel and Netflix TV host, and author of The MeatEater Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival, among other similar books. He begins with a thoughtful consideration of the late biologist E.O. Wilson’s concept of biophilia, the idea that humans are wired to appreciate nature: “We already know, both instinctively and empirically, that when kids and adults interact with real nature, they get mental and physical health benefits.” Granted, Rinella’s kids may take a deeper dive than most: In an early passage, he ponders the interaction of goopy deer fat, a fast dog, and raiding magpies, the latter of which perform an interesting calculation to see whether they can grab the fat before the dog gets to them. “I recognize that butchering deer and feeding fat to magpies might seem a bit extreme,” writes the author, “especially for parents who are struggling just to get their kids out of the house for an hour-long hike in the park.” With each interaction with nature, those kids learn a little more about how the world works and, by Rinella’s, become better-adjusted human beings. So how to get the kids to drop their phones and joysticks? The author argues that adults must be better gatekeepers of their children’s lives through outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, and hiking and by reading about nourishing topics with them indoors—books about dinosaurs, trees, astronomy, and the like. It’s not a foregone conclusion that such skills and knowledge will help save the planet—“Our kids will be left to experience, or perhaps endure, whatever it is that they inherit from us”—but at least they’ll be better prepared for whatever comes. A smart, ably argued case for taking the kids out of their rooms and into the world. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal
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Host of the podcast and television show MeatEater and author of a number of books on hunting, survival skills, and cooking wild game, Rinella is an avid outdoorsman and a father. In an era when children spend an overwhelming majority of their time indoors, Rinella here provides a manual to bring nature into family life. During the pandemic, unsurprisingly, statistics show people clamored to get out into the outdoors and areas free of people; over ten million Americans went camping for the first time. Rinella shares ways even those in urban environments can find outdoor bliss (his first two children were born while they lived in a less than 1,000 square foot apartment in the middle of Brooklyn). Family camping trips, fishing, foraging, gardening, and exploring wildlife are some of the activities he covers. Rinella posits that hunting can be used to teach self-discipline, gardening can spark creativity, and outdoor learning can teach children to adopt a growth mindset. VERDICT Fans of Rinella's popular show and nature lovers will enjoy this manual to outdoor pursuits.

Publishers Weekly
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“Kids need to understand that they are not above, outside, or apart from their physical environment,” writes Rinella (The Meateater Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival), host of the MeatEater TV show, in this gem of a guide. He begins with a “prescription” for how readers and their families “can begin to see nature eye-to-eye,” which involves parents leading by example and, if needed, starting small, such as with treks in the yard, the local park, or even on an apartment building’s balcony. He suggests a bevy of activities: there’s camping (start with car camping), foraging (fun because of kids’ “natural curiosity”), gardening (which teaches kids “patience and hard work”), fishing (an “incredible relationship-building and mentoring tool”), and hunting (with the thoughtful acknowledgment that it might not be for everyone). Rinella’s enthusiasm for outdoor activities is contagious, and he offers plenty of fun stories from his own adventures with his family, as when, while on a berry-picking outing to stock the freezer, Rinella discovered that his youngest was feeding his crop to the dog. As useful as it is charming, this should go a long way toward convincing readers to get up, gather the family, and enjoy what nature has in store. (May)