Trivia (and Poop)

Title: True or Poo?:
The Definitive Guide to Filthy Animal Facts and Falsehoods
Authors: Nick Caruso & Dani Rabaiotti
Genre: Science (Zoology/Scatology)
Pages: 160
Rating: 4.5 of 5
Future Release Date: 10/23/18 (Thank you to the authors and publisher for a free eARC via NetGalley. This in no way affects the content of this review)

The subtitle says it all: look no further for an entertaining collection of gross animal trivia. Apparently this is number two in the authors’ juvenile yet educational zoology series that began with Does It Fart?.

This collection is a little less one note than the first one, in that it gives a statement about an animal and asks whether it is “true or poo.” The facts are loosely grouped into topics like mating/parenting, eating, and (of course) pooping. While a few “true or poo” questions are about common animal myths (e.g. camels store water in their humps), most are just a way to introduce an odd fact about an animal and then launch into a short description of some of its interesting characteristics. I learned some things, even in the sections that started with a common animal myth that everyone over the age of 6 knows to be false.

The explanations are light and humorous with occasional innuendoes that might not be appropriate for a younger audience (but might just go over their heads) and plenty of gross facts sure to delight people like my 9-year-old son (I’m honestly not sure what age group this is aimed at). Fun little cartoony illustrations are scattered throughout the book as an added bonus.

For me, the preoccupation with poo (while not surprising given the title) wore thin after a while. However I did have a lot of fun reading this and definitely recommend it as a fun read and a source of great trivia to astound and disgust your friends and family.

A Strange Journey

Title: Atom Land:
A Guided Tour Through the Strange (and Impossibly Small) World of Particle Physics
Author: Jon Butterworth
Genre: Science
Pages: 288
Rating: 4 of 5
Future Release Date:  4/3/18 (Thanks to NetGalley for an eARC!)

Edwin Abbott Abbott wrote Flatland to help explore geometry, dimensions, and related topics (as well as a healthy dose of spiritual/social commentary); now Jon Butterworth does something similar for particle physics (hold the social commentary). He describes the most current theories of what atoms are made of and how all the bits, energies, forces, etc. act and interact in terms of places on a map and travel between those places (with plenty of humorous asides).

The author does a good job of explaining things in a way that requires no background in particle physics or mathematics but is not condescending. The significance of complicated formulas and equations is discussed without going into the actual mathematics. There is enough detail to develop a basic grasp of the theories while still feeling a bit mind-boggled at the strangeness of the topic. This won’t make you an expert, but it is a great introduction to this weird, fascinating topic.