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Cub Scout Handbooks

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Items from the Past

Books and Other Printed Material

FIRST EDITION BEAR CUBBOOK  1930-1935

Cover art by Andy Janson.  136 pages, 4 1/2” x 7”. Illustrations were ink drawings by Andy Janson.

The BSA Boy’s Cubbook was not just an adaptation of Baden-Powell’s 1916 “Wolf-Cub’s Handbook.” Akela, Baloo, and Mowgli from Kipling’s “Jungle Book” had been transferred to North America. The tests and awards were rewritten with advice from educators and child psychologists.

 

FIRST EDITION BEAR CUBBOOK 1935-1946

Cover art by Andy Janson, printed with several color variations. 136 pages until dropping to as low as 122 for Wartime Measures compliance. 4 1/2 x 7”. Illustrations were ink drawings by Andy Janson.

 

Cubs BSA became Cub Scouts in 1945 but the name change did not affect the end of this run.

 

SECOND EDITION  1948-1953

Cover art by Don Ross. His Cover A was rendered too harshly and was soon reworked. 156 pages, 5 1/2” x 8”. Illustrations were two color (blue and black) linear cartoons by Don Ross.

The driving force behind the book was a rewrite for nine year old boys. An age change was meant to take place in 1947 or 1948, but was held up until 1949.

THIRD EDITION BEAR CUB SCOUT BOOK 1954-1965

Art by Don Ross. Cover A has a plain spine while Cover B has “Bear” on the spine. The most naturalistic of the Ross covers. 156 pages, 5 1/2” x 8”. Illustrations were mostly the same two color (blue and black) linear cartoons that appeared in the Second Edition.

The second edition that had proved a little too simple for ten-year-olds was a little too difficult for nine-year-olds. The requirements and text were further simplified.

FOURTH EDITION BEAR CUB SCOUT BOOK 1967-1983

202 pages, 5 1/2” x 8”. Illustrations were two color sketches in various colors with black.

 

Several major changes to the Cub Scouting program required a new handbook, especially a realignment of Cub Scout entrance requirements to grade level rather than age. That required a further revision of the reading level of the text.

FIFTH EDITION  1984-2000

Cover art by Robert Depew. The last painted cover, with Depew’s first version of Baloo. 256 pages, 5 1/4” x 8”. Illustrations are paintings and natural color ink drawings by Robert Depew.

Program changes in the late 60s and 70s cost BSA a significant part of its membership.  The “Big” Bear Cub Scout Book restored the traditional flavor and challenges of Cub Scouting while holding on to new emphases on racial and cultural harmony and an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

SIXTH EDITION HANDBOOK 2000-2002

Cover art by Robert Depew. As in the fifth edition, Baloo beckons the Bear Cub Scouts on to the trail through a Cub Scout’s four duties. This standardized Baloo has been used on several different Cub Scouting publications. 264 pages, 5 1/4” x 8”. Illustrations are paintings and natural color ink drawings by Robert Depew.

Pack family camping was approved, as was the “Climb on Safely” program which allowed Cub Scouts to climb and rappel in a controlled environment.

SEVENTH EDITION HANDBOOK 2002-Present

Cover art by Robert Depew. 288 pages, 5 1/4” x 8”. Illustrations are paintings and natural color ink drawings by Robert Depew.

 

Updated for relevance to today’s youth, appropriateness of content, ease of use, and perceived challenge to the reader. “Integrated character connections” refer to Cub Scouting’s 12 core values. Age appropriate outdoor program activities added to requirements and electives. Advancement and elective trails enhanced to better prepare Cub Scouts for the next rank, and Webelos Scouts for transition to Boy Scouting.