Shaved-down lists of, as the authors put it, “everything the world has to offer,” stocked with eye-widening photos and other embellishments.
Catering to patrons of the Limited-Attention–Span Theater, the authors drop 50 eight-item listicles—all bearing catchy titles like “Eight Ultimate Toilets,” “Eight Righteous Rock Formations,” or “Eight Fearless Foods”—in no particular order, inviting browsers at the outset to dive in anywhere. Human works and natural ones get roughly equal time. Each list fills a single double-page spread, with round- or rectangular-framed photographs of diverse size placed on brightly colored fill, interspersed with one- or two-sentence captions that really bring the fun. Ready to ride Dubai’s “Leap of Faith” water slide? “Climb to the top of a Maya temple replica, then drop 60 feet (18.3 m) before shooting through a clear tunnel in a lagoon stocked with sharks.” For occasional changes of pace, seven list items get expanded ganders on following pages, including, for instance, the “Sailing Stones” of Death Valley (“Eight Wackiest Weather Events”), “Rock Star” volcanologist John Stevenson (“Eight Extreme Occupations”), and, from “Eight Awesome Things in Antarctica,” a rare view of a flipped iceberg’s underside.
Unabashed edutainment, not deep but glossy as that iceberg’s surface. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)