by James Brown and Richard Platt

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Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781406370843
(Age: 8+) Information, Non fiction. 'From cloud classification to Roman numerals, an essential miscellany of fascinating facts for curious minds', reads the sub title on the front cover of this over sized hard cover volume, reflecting a style of books from the past. Opening the covers reinforces that supposition, but an inquisitive child will linger over the miscellany of facts displayed here. The table of contents includes a wide variety of topics, The periodic table, Human skeleton, Phases of the moon, Music notation, Rivers and Knots. Each topic has a monochromatic double page devoted to it with one page of information and one page containing a diagram. The text is clear and the stylish diagrams well presented, both sure to attract the attention of inquisitive eyes. Even though children have access to the internet, some will also be attracted to this book full of wonder and interest as it presents such a diverse range of information, and could be used as a reference tool as well as a book of curiousities to satisfy eager minds. The stylised illustrations reflect much detail as the eye is drawn into the myriad of intricacies shown on each page. I enjoyed dipping into the pages. One that caught my eye was Impossible shapes, which shows the sorts of shapes that look as if they should be right as the mind tries to justify them but on closer inspection he reader can see why they trick the eye. Another page celebrates all the different types of pencils and brushes, while another shows the phases of the moon. Lots of interesting facts for those kids who love delving into things with an alert mind.
Fran Knight