Strange But True: 10 of the World's Greatest Mysteries Explained; Kathryn Hulick, illustrated by Gordy Wright
I love reading about unsolved mysteries and making my own conclusions and this brilliant non-fiction read from Kathryn Hulick and illustrated by Gordy Wright invites readers to do just that.
The unsolved, the unexplained and the mysterious have baffled people for years. Truth-seekers, scientists and believers have all offered opinions on some of the biggest mysteries in history. Is there really a sea monster lurking in Loch Ness, what really happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 370, is the lost city of Atlantis lying in the depths of the ocean? It's your turn to decide…
This is essential reading for any child with an interest in the unexplained as they are encouraged to play Sherlock Holmes and draw their own conclusions on events from history that have not been completely explained. Recounting ten mysteries, Hulick presents well-researched accounts that integrate a retelling of the event with eye-witness testimony, scientific fact and expert opinion in an attempt to distil fact from fiction.
There is plenty for readers to learn about and pass judgement on with alien abductions, ghostly goings-on, sea monsters, lost cities, mystical triangles, mythical beasts, vanishing planes, death-defying relatives and cursed tombs all featuring. Events are presented over several pages and focused sub-sectioned paragraphs make things engaging and accessible. Gordy Wright’s illustrations add more mystery to proceedings.
Hulick isn’t here to tell the reader what to think, she does not claim to have all of the evidence nor does she outrightly dismiss any of the numerous theories for the unexplained. What she does is present the available facts and looks at each mystery with a measured approach following the Occam’s Razor principle that assumes the most likely explanation makes the least assumptions. Her well reasoned and alternate explanations make much sense. For example, are sightings of the Loch Ness monster playful otters, are numerous deaths linked to the opening of Tutankhamen’s tomb simply coincidence, could sleep paralysis explain encounters with aliens and can powers of the mind be explained by clever trickery and people’s willingness to believe? Ultimately, it is left for the reader to assess the validity of the various theories, to examine the evidence and to decide what they think happened.
Hulick's advice is to think critically, be open-minded and to question everything. She stresses the importance of scientific research and evidence based findings. Whilst it is fun to come up with more ‘out there’ theories, the truth usually lies in the rational and reasonable and it is important to let science and reason prevail, at least until there is a better and more reliable alternative.
Well-designed, fun and fascinating. Strange But True is an engrossing, attractive and thought-provoking read that any child with an interest in unsolved mysteries will love getting lost in.
Recommended for 9+.