It seems that the days of picking up an encyclopedia in search of answers are long gone, it is far easier to hop onto ‘Google’ or ask everyone’s invisible best friend ‘Siri’. However, I firmly believe that a physical encyclopedia holds much appeal, particularly to children who can spend hours getting lost in fascinating facts and intriguing information. The Encyclopedia of Unbelievable Facts, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, is a brilliant example of just why we still need encyclopedias and if you are a ‘philomath’ like me - that’s someone who loves facts - then this book is sure to be a hit. It is exploding with facts, five hundred of them to be exact, and within its pages so many unbelievable answers are waiting to be revealed…
Do you know what a space elevator is? How about, which animal sleeps for three years at a time? Got the answer to how much does an average cloud weigh? Need to know in which city you would find more bicycles than people? Where would you need to go to participate in the mud olympics? What is the world’s shortest flight? What about the longest national anthem? Are there diamonds in the sky? Who sent secret messages in food? Fancy reciting a poem that takes eight hours to read, need to know the inspiration for a Roald Dahl classic? This is just a very small sample of what awaits - a great mix of diverse, useful, essential and trivial stuff to fill your brain with.
Facts are spread over ten sections covering many topic areas including: the Human Body, Science and Tech, Animals, Culture and Customs, Arts and Entertainment and Mind-bending Stuff. Posed within each section are fifty questions and fifty answers that cover a broad manner of things under the main section heading. Questions are followed by clear and concise answers and the simple and easy to understand language is perfectly pitched. Questions and answers range from the interesting and intriguing to the mind-boggling to the sometimes silly. The bite-sized chunks are easy to digest and will be gobbled up by readers. With five hundred facts, there is more than enough to satisfy the appetite of the most knowledge-hungry child.
The engaging and accessible presentation of the book is incredibly appealing, layouts are clean, text is easy to read and is supported by bright and colourful illustrations that feature throughout. The broad range of topics will be greatly appreciated by readers and the neat organisation - complete with contents, index and jargon buster - allows readers to dive into the areas that most interest them. A book like this is great for dipping in and out of, or perhaps you’ll be like me who read it cover to cover and loved broadening my knowledge and becoming closer to a ‘pantomath’ (‘that’s someone who knows everything’).
Extremely entertaining, often eye-opening and highly educational, The Encyclopedia of Unbelievable Facts is a great book. Whether it be testing the family, gathering friends around to read together or simply indulging on your own, it will provide many hours of entertainment and fun.
I learned lots, I loved it!
Recommended for 7+.