Funky Facts for Frivolous Fun

Light summer reading goes well with light meals, light suntan and plain old light. National Geographic shows the way with Weird But True! 3: 300 Outrageous Facts ($6.95, ages 9-12), featuring gems such as “astronauts drink recycled urine” (well, actually reprocessed) and “A British man ate 36 cockroaches in 1 minute,” mixed in with duds like, “Birds don’t sweat” and “A meteorite once hit a mailbox in Georgia, USA.”

You might not call that reading, but it could easily stimulate interest in subjects that the tidbits touch on.

Reaching deeper into the abnormal, with facts of its own is Attack of the Killer Facts! 1,001 Terrifying Truths by Eric Grzymkowski (Adams Media, $13.95). Its contribution to the common theme is, “The urine of King George III was a deep shade of purple.”

The book is obviously for older kids and adults, because it gives its sources. It turns out kangaroo in Aborigine means, “I do not understand you,” the response to Captain Cook’s question about the name of the bouncing animal he encountered in 1770 in Australia.

Ken Lytle and Katie Corcoran Lytle turn to historic oddities in The Little Book of Big F*#k Ups: 220 of History’s Most Regrettable Moments (Adams Media, $12.95). This book is also for older kids, even if it fails to cite sources. It is chronological and gives sidelights to major events that could lead to further reading and the chance to learn about historical events.

Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World of Food: Brains, Bugs, and Blood Sausage (Delacorte, $15.99) covers a worldwide search for interesting meals with facts and information about places as well as their food. The author shows young adult readers that you don’t need to fit in to another culture, as long as you appreciate something in common and can be enthusiastic about strange environments.

Frank Lipsius is a contributing writer to MetroKids.

Categories: Book Reviews