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*Ye Olde Weird but True: 300 Outrageous Facts from History* by Cheryl Harness - middle grades book review
Ye Olde Weird but True: 300 Outrageous Facts from History
by Cheryl Harness
Ages 6-12 208 pages National Geographic October 2013 Paperback    

In their newest nonfiction book, the creators of National Geographic Kids magazine have compiled 300 weird but true historical facts.

Ye Olde Weird but True touches on many subjects such as medicine, animals, clothing, sports, technology, laws and fads. Inside, readers will discover information about famous people from the past (Alexander the Great, Amelia Earhart, Babe Ruth, Julius Caesar) and countries around the world (Egypt, the United States, China, Greece, Japan).

The facts do not follow any particular timeline, though. They can jump from the 1800s to 1971 and back to 21,000 BC. Some of the “weird” facts will amaze (The largest nugget found during the California gold rush weighed 195 pounds [88.5 kg]—as much as a large kangaroo). A couple pages are unpleasant (Some ancient Romans gargled urine to freshen their breath), but most are meant to be interesting and educational (It took 70 days to make an Egyptian mummy).

Each fact is one sentence in length and accompanied by colorful illustrations. This book is designed to look like a scrapbook, with the text written in a variety of colors and different sizes and styles of font. The photographs appear new or aged, and the pages include word art, maps, and mixed media artwork.

Back material includes an extensive index, but there is no explanation of BC and AD or a timeline of history. This book (and the others in the Weird by True series by National Geographic Kids) will appeal to reluctant readers or kids who enjoy the Guinness World Record books and the Ripley’s Believe it or Not series.
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  Tanya Boudreau/2013 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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