The Encyclopedia of the Weird and Wonderful: Curious and Incredible Facts that Will Blow Your Mind

Wellfleet. Oct. 2023. 256p. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781577153412.
Gr 7 Up–A conversational exploration of human history by a YouTuber with millions of followers known for making anthropology and archaeology accessible. Rossi is an environmental scientist, archaeologist, and science educator and a social media content creator. Instead of presenting history in a linear, straightforward way, the author organizes the content by experiences or milestones regardless of era, such as childhood, pets, playing, falling in love, dying, and more. As Rossi covers each of those common events, he provides examples of each topic from different moments in time. In the Early Years section, he chats about cave drawings made by children all over the world. In Love & Sexuality, he shares how monogamy is only a recent development in Western civilization, whereas polygamy and fraternal polyandry was more common. Snarky humor is the order of the day, but Rossi also waxes poetic about cave drawings, King Tut’s ducks, and the history of baloney. Pencil-like illustrations with a palette of green, orange, and dark gray make the book even more inviting. Extended sidebars, humorous headings, and quirky conversation style will keep readers engaged and spark curiosity. The talky approach of the text belies the extensive research and incredible fountain of information.
VERDICT A fun and informative book for students interested in the big picture questions that have shaped humanity.

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