American boys who swot up on The Dangerous Book for Boys, a runaway British bestseller, will learn nothing about such staples of British childhood as conkers and cricket.
The book has been extensively rewritten for the American market to replace conkers with “stickball” and the laws of cricket with the equally incomprehensible Navajo Code Talkers’ Dictionary.
A lesson on the etymology of “cor blimey” has been dropped, and a trick involving hiding a £1 coin behind your ear now uses an American quarter.
A section listing the kings and queens of England and Scotland has been replaced with the “most valuable players” in baseball.
The book, which has reached No 3 on the Wall Street Journal’s nonfiction bestseller list, appears to be driven partly by American fascination with British schoolboys created by the Harry Potter books.
“I feel like Harry Potter has become part of our lexicon,” Mr Benjamin said. “I would hesitate to say that American boys want to grow up to be British kids, but it’s part of their fantasy.”
Well naturally it is, poor things.