“Joined! By Andrew Pettie: A Book Review


Britannica is back! Continuing on from its comprehensive and extremely fun and informative children’s encyclopedia Factopia with Listing ! by Andrew Pettie. This book cuts and splits fascinating facts into lists of related information snippets. That’s 400 pages of glorious knowledge, engagingly illustrated and highly addicting. Get ready to learn all kinds of things you didn’t know, you didn’t know!

what Listing !?

Broken down into eight chapters, Listing ! has 300 lists of facts. At first glance, this has the potential to be boring, but it definitely isn’t. The book is humorous and has some downright insane information, which makes it extremely engaging. According to the first list in the book, “A List to Get Us Started,” Listing ! allows us to discover everything, from “amphibious bikes to erupting volcanoes”. Inside we will meet “giant centipedes, microscopic robots, prehistoric monsters and exploding stars”.

The book is suitable for ages nine and up, but adults will certainly steal this book from their children. It’s impossible to stop browsing!

Although broken down into chapters, Listing ! is designed to be read from any point of departure. Open up, find an interesting list, and get lost in glorious information. The eight chapters (broadly defined) are:

  1. Space: Including black holes, dark matter, astronaut toilet habits, and gemstone rain.
  2. Nature: Including smelly fruits, cosmic calendar, types of clouds and rainbows.
  3. Dinosaur Times: Including Eggs, Incorrect Theories, Powerful Bites, and Paleontology.
  4. Animals: Including immortal jellyfish, fish poo, intelligent dogs, and long-haul travelers.
  5. The Body: Including the navel, fingerprints, dreams, and body grime.
  6. Human Being: Including pogo sticks, fake fairies, small countries, and weird rules.
  7. Inventions: Including infiltrated pigeons, flying garbage trucks, vending machines, and future technologies.
  8. Game Changers: Including ephemeral monarchs, chess champions, loud burps, and tiny works of art.

The topics I have listed as “included” are just the tip of the iceberg of information hidden within the pages of Listing!.

Each page takes roughly the same shape. The lists are either one per page or a double page spread, and usually have 10 entries. Some have more, others less. Each list has a header, and then each entry in the list has a brief description of what it is and why it was included. Most often, the lists will contain asterisks in the footnotes. Footnotes are where most of the jokes are, but also contain much more interesting information. Some entries have access arrows, “>>”, which direct readers to another page for related facts.

LISTED! is closed with a comprehensive glossary and index, followed by a list of sources.

The very last list in the book contains a list of Listing !, listing (among other things) the interesting fact that tardigrades appear in six of the book’s lists. Frankly, who doesn’t love a tardigrade? Here are six reasons to read the book right there.

Why read Listing ! by Andrew Pettie?

It is an extremely impressive book. A list book may have failed, but Listing ! is never boring and surprisingly comprehensive. There is all kinds of fascinating detailed information on a wide range of topics. The list format works great. Andrew Pettie uses it to pull together disparate pieces of related information. A list can cover both the mundane and the extraordinary.

Topics are not just things like “planets”, “dinosaurs” or “bones”. Each section has its own Listing ! turn. So, as part of the “Space” section, we get a list of how high you can jump on a particular planet (or moon). In “Dinosaurs” we learn which were the fastest species and which species had the largest wingspan. For “Bones”, we not only learn the names of the bones but also the longest and most often broken bones. The body section also includes a list of body sounds and another for fingerprint types.

I could keep listing the fascinating topics in this book until I run out (there are 300, so I’ll end up doing it!). Every list is interesting; there is something to grab your attention on every page. Best of all, all of this beautiful information is backed up by superb illustrations (by Andérs Lozano) and beautiful photos.

Fact books are eternal gifts for curious kids, and in my years at GeekDad, I’ve reviewed quite a few. Listing ! is certainly among the best. It brings the information together in a beautiful format, which will inspire readers to learn and learn.

If you want to retrieve a copy of Listing ! by Andrew Pettie, you can do it here in the US, and here in the UK.

Don’t just take my word for it, check out the other reviews in the Listing ! visit blogs!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review.

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