If you want to introduce a youngster to the joys of whittling, Smoky Mountain Woodcarvers offers a starter kit that makes it easy. Along with a 3-1/4″ Victorinox pocket knife and a 60-page book, the kit includes two basswood practice blocks, one of which is already marked up for carving the ball-in-cage.
The book, Old Time Whittling, shows you how to make ten projects, with over 50 photographs and diagrams, and it also covers pertinent topics like wood selection and knife sharpening.
Amazon and Smoky Mountain Woodcarvers sell this kit for $22. And once you master the basic skills, you can always check out Smoky Mountain Woodcarvers for more advanced carving supplies — they carry quite a variety.