FACTopia!

FACTopia!
Kate Hale, illustrated by Andy Smith
Britannica Books

Surprising and sometimes humorous are the connections between the four hundred statements found within this cornucopia of facts collected by Kate Hale.

With my love of chocolate, and that large tower spanning the gutter of the book, how could I resist savouring first the information on that spread. I was surprised to read that ‘The world’s largest chocolate bar weighed 2,696 kg’ – about the same weight as four male polar bears.” Wow! Now that would take some eating. However with my vegan sensibilities I was horrified to learn that ‘the average chocolate bar contains some tiny insect fragments’. Where do they come from?

I hastily left the chocolate page and turned instead to the linked spread where I was met with a gaping mouth in the process of consuming birthday cakes and discovered that a world record was set by a man who consumed 6.6kg of birthday cake in eight minutes; I assume he didn’t eat the candles as well. That surely must have stopped him having ‘borborygmi’. I have to admit I had to check up the meaning of this word just to make sure it wasn’t a joke but sure enough it is ‘the rumbling sounds made by a body when hungry’.

As somebody who loves to travel I was fascinated to read about the Potato Hotel in Idaho where the rooms are contained within a gigantic replica of a potato, while in India, the country’s fisheries HQ building is fish-shaped.

There is actually some kind of linking thread running right through this entire book but there is more than one trail through the wealth of facts included so divergent thinkers can choose to follow their own path, or even just dip in and out enjoying the range of topics covered from babies to breakfast and popcorn to pets and pirates.
Andy Smith’s 300+ illustrations are huge fun and add to the enjoyment of this collection of facts for curious children (and the occasional adult I suspect).

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