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Review: Adventures for Kids by Saul and Henry Taylor

Reviewed by Simon from the Hilltop Family

Saul and Henry invited Boom Buddy Family, the Hilltops, out for a bouldering and hiking adventure in the Peak District. Here, Simon shares their experience and reviews the book.

 


It’s not very often that you get asked to review a book by taking an adventure into that very book with the author themselves! Would it be possible to search for the Gruffalo with Julia Donaldson? What jokes would David Walliams tell you as he introduced you to Gangsta Granny? And what would Green Eggs and Ham really taste like if served by Dr Seuss?!

 

With these amusing anecdotes putting a smile on my face, I set off to drive to Hathersage in the Peak District with my wife and our 7-year-old son, Harry. Waiting for us were father and son duo, and authors of Adventures for Kids, Saul and Henry Taylor. 

 

The heart of the book is pure adventure and it encourages kids to explore what nature has to offer. It inspires exercise, imagination, builds confidence and is a fantastic family bonding activity.



Saul has 30 years of experience climbing in the Peak District, and 12-year-old Henry is all the better for it. Their love of exploring nature together within this father-son bond is evident, and they’ve spent the last six years compiling their book by exploring all sorts of hiking routes and boulders that are safely accessible for children. 

 

When we arrived and were shown to the boulders of Owler Tor, Harry’s face lit up with a big smile. After tentatively exploring the rock formations, which ranged from one to three metres high, he was extremely happy to let Saul and Henry show him around, and he really did get stuck in! As his dad, I made sure to stay close to him as he traversed his routes around the rocks but, before long, Harry was having the time of his life! He told me how he was mapping out a line in his mind – much like the ones he noted from the book – to decide which route he would take across the boulders. I was having so much fun with him and it really felt like a fantastic new way for us to enjoy our time in the Peak District together. I knew the sentiment was shared when Harry turned to me and said, “Daddy, this is the most adventurous I’ve ever been!”

 

Adventures for Kids features ten wonderful places across the Peak District for children and their families to explore. Climbing grades and terminology are explained at the beginning, as well as pages on how to use sites safely and ethically. Parking, bus routes and refreshment stops are listed for each route, followed by clear maps and written directions. The other great thing about this engaging, pocket-sized book is that it lists things to spot along the trail, from wildlife to fungi and landmarks, all of which the kids can record within the pages as they discover or climb. It’s been designed for kids to use themselves and we found that really helped with Harry’s enthusiasm. He enjoyed the responsibility of following the details within the book and the excitement when he was able to tick something off.

The hike was a great one, taking in the beautiful route of Padley Gorge and the abandoned quarry at Bole Hill. At one point, as we crossed a brook, we discovered that the bridge had been damaged and placed aside. It was great to see Harry apply some of his new skills to safely work with my wife and I to cross the water at a new point; I could see his mind calculating his route as we worked it out together. On heading back towards the car, Harry wanted to go straight back to the rock formations to climb on them again. Usually at the end of walks he’s wanting to go back home for some screen time, but not today! And this tied in quite nicely to Saul’s ‘in-joke’ explanation of the book’s title. Adventures for Kids = AFK = Away from Keyboard!

 

I feel like I’ve reviewed an adventure more so than a book, but that is the spirit of the book. A fantastic day out, and we will definitely be selecting another one of Saul and Henry’s routes for our next adventure in the great outdoors.

 

Adventures for Kids is available from:

Outside climbing shop, Hathersage



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