It’s a sucker’s “bet” if ever there was one, as every page of this brightly illustrated browser’s delight features a multiplicity of mind-boggling facts.
Cued up in groups of 10 per spread (with occasional variations) beneath about 70 topical rubrics, pithy gosh-wow–isms in boldface type and emphatic colors focus mainly on the natural world with excursions into history, holidays, and curious cultural practices. Sharp photos and graphic images—mostly of animals, with human figures a rare but diverse minority—in a range of sizes are treats for the eyes. So too are claims that rats can’t throw up, raw termites taste like pineapple, “One cyclops from Greek mythology liked to snack on humans,” and hundreds of other did-you-knows to absorbent young brains. Wordier excursions to, for instance, visit Petra and Machu Picchu or to explain the differences between “affect” and “effect” or macarons and macaroons offer changes of pace, but the whole outing is really tailor-made for dipping and flipping at random. And, wild as some entries seem, there aren’t any patent absurdities, even when enthusiasm trumps precise language and notwithstanding a breezy assurance standing in for actual source citations that everything here is “carefully researched.”
A bodacious wellspring of random knowledge. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-12)