A Closer Look at the Weird, Wild, and Wonderful

By: Brenda Scott Royce

Published: November 3, 2020

Publisher: National Geographic Kids


Leave it to National Geographic to tell readers about the coolest things on earth. I always finish these books feeling satisfied with some new fact that I can casually bring up in conversation with family or friends. If you’ve got a kid that loves fun facts or trivia, this is the book for them. This one is jam-packed.

With nine chapters and nearly a hundred categories, there is truly something interesting for everyone. Magnificent Marvels, Travel, Money, Sports, History, Science, and our Planet are topics that feature the coolest things.

I find sloths to be very interesting animals and right off the bat, the first feature in the book is a full-page spread of a sloth. I had no idea that sloths had their own ecosystem right in their fur. Various insects make the sloth’s fur their home and depend on the sloth’s poop, yes poop, to continue their circle of life.

A story about plastic ending up in our oceans intrigued me. I have always thought that since we don’t live near any oceans here, the pollution isn’t from “us”. But, plastic and waste can travel through rivers to the oceans and we have lots of rivers and creeks near us. When people litter, it can blow into creeks and rivers and I’m guessing it can blow there from the garbage that we set outside every week. There are places in the ocean where all the garbage accumulates. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located between California and Hawaii and covers an area twice the size of Texas. But, it isn’t necessarily a “pile of plastic” but more tiny plastic particles that have worn down over time. This is more serious because marine animals or fish eat them and get sick. Then if we eat the fish, we are eating the plastic too. It absolutely makes me think about the amount of plastic I bring into our home and how I can reduce it through other companies that work to produce their product with less of a footprint.

Some other fun facts that I learned while reading include:

“Long-distance runners can shrink up to half an inch in height while running a race.”

“People in the United States spend $72 billion on their pets each year.”

“The oldest giant sequoia has been standing for more than 3,500 years.”

This book has hundreds of photos that even non-readers will love looking at the pages. There are photos of amazing places, animals, and people that turning the pages is an thrilling experience in itself.

This is an over-sized and hefty book…think coffee-table book. But, it’s one that will stay out because kids will want to find the next interesting and cool fact to share at dinner. You could even make it a nightly dinner routine for the kids to share something they learned from this book. Kids will find this book so fun, they won’t even realize they are learning.

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Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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