Dangerous Book for Boys
This live-action series, available on Amazon Prime, follows the McKenna family after the passing of Patrick McKenna —husband, father, and imaginative inventor. The family’s three boys are devastated, of course, but spirits are lifted when they discover “The Dangerous Book for Boys,” a book Patrick left for them filled with a collection of crafts, Maker challenges, and whimsical prompts to inspire adventures using the items they create. It’s accompanied by a letter from Patrick, telling them he hopes the book will inspire them to be “dangerously good, to take some chances, get lost, try new things, and be fearless.” Remember, said Dad, “you can’t succeed unless you’re willing to fail.”
The guide book has a profound effect on the youngest brother, Wyatt, who finds himself caught somewhere between sad reality and thrilling fantasy. He reconnects with his dad through the life lessons the book imparts, realizing truths through fantasy sequences in which Wyatt is the hero and dad Patrick plays, in one way or another, the role of the supportive “wing man.”
The show’s slightly melancholy premise and tone are balanced by lighthearted moments provided by Wyatt’s irritating siblings, a brave mom, a rock-n-roll-lovin’ grandma, and dad’s ne’er-do-well identical twin. The production values are solid; the fantasy sequences are especially well-realized. Children – particularly tweens in the midst of their own awkward coming-of-age journey may relate to Wyatt’s worries, learn from his sensitivity, and be inspired to their own discoveries.
Gina Catanzarite ©2018 Parents’ Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster’s Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.