Maker Comics: Survive in the Outdoors!
As told by Mike Lawrence, Sophia and her younger brother Alonso are spending the weekend with Grandpa, who’s going to take them fishing. They just want to stay on their phones and video games, but he manages to involve them in preparing for their trip.
There’s an air of danger to all this. Typical of the series, the book starts with a page of warnings about staying away from things that can hurt you. But Grandpa reinforces the message with emphasizing what should be in a survival pack, even for a day trip in the woods. And it’s a good thing, as in this story, for educational purposes, lots happens to the hikers!
Activities include making a fire starter (a kind of homemade sterno can) and a compass, building a campfire, cleaning and cooking a fish, taping a sprained ankle, purifying water for drinking, and building a shelter. There’s additional advice which covers how to safely hike, including avoiding ticks, how to cope with getting lost, and how to prepare a fishing rod, cast, and net a fish.
Lawrence keeps the story moving well, with relatable characters. The feeling between Abuelito and his grandkids is obvious, which provides a comforting grounding for the more dramatic events. Grandpa is big on understanding the regulations and doing things safely, which makes him an excellent guide and instructor.
I was pleased to see the concept of catching and killing a living creature is treated with respect. Grandpa tells Sophia “There’s no shame in feeling sad for killing an animal. But if you eat meat, this is where it comes from.” Later, Alonso says killing the fish wasn’t as fun as catching it, and Grandpa agrees, but reminds him he did it well by not having the animal suffer.
Backup pages cover how to dress for the outdoors, the danger of hypothermia, sharpening a knife, and using a cell phone in the wilderness. Maker Comics: Survive in the Outdoors! is an excellent starting point for a lot of sensible wilderness advice. It will be out next month. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)