Alice Cantrell’s newest book, Tin Cups & Tinder : A Catholic Boy’s Little Book of Fire, Food & Fun arrived the same day I was pondering ways to liven up my son’s education. While considering if we were called to homeschool my little boy, I had some serious concerns over whether I could provide enough enrichment for him, as my interests tend to be very domestic and feminine. I try to be aware and spend a good bit of time playing football and soccer with him but it didn’t occur to me to encourage him to hone his own domestic skills, approaching these from a more boyish perspective.
This is what Alice encourages us to do in Tin Cups & Tinder. I do say ‘us’ because we were all charmed by this beautifully photographed book. (In attempting to write this review, I had to go hunting, for both my children disappeared with it yesterday). A few of the topics covered are essential kitchen skills, basic sewing (for boys!) and instructions and templates for an indispensable little naturalist’s kit. Of particular interest to me were the campfire cooking tips and recipes. I can’t wait to head out again to try pancakes cooked on the campfire. I’m also looking forward to teaching my son to build a proper fire - mine are rather pitiful.
Setting this book apart from other boy’s instructional manuals is that it is solidly, beautifully Catholic. My young son considers his rosary a camping necessity and I was thrilled to see Alice include a pocket shrine right alongside a first aid kit (It's like she wrote it just for us!). Furthermore, she peppers the book liberally with passages from the Bible and quotes from various saints, all of which encourage little boys to keep Christ at the center of all they do.