Britannica is back again! Following on from its comprehensive children’s encyclopedia and hugely fun and informative Factopia with Listified! by Andrew Pettie. This book slices and dices fascinating facts into lists of related snippets of information. It’s 400 pages of glorious knowledge, engagingly illustrated, and very addictive. Prepare to learn all manner of things you didn’t know, you didn’t know!
What is Listified!?
Broken down into eight chapters, Listified! has 300 lists of facts. This, on the face of it, has the potential to be boring, but it most definitely isn’t. The book is laced with humor and contains some downright bonkers pieces of information, making it extremely engaging throughout. According to the first list in the book, “A List to Get Us Started,” Listified! allows us to find out everything from “amphibious bicycles to erupting volcanoes.” Inside we’ll meet “giant millipedes, microscopic robots, prehistoric monsters, and exploding stars.”
The book is suitable from ages nine upwards but adults will definitely be stealing this book from their children. It’s impossible to stop flicking through!
Whilst broken down into chapters, Listified! is designed to be read from any starting point. Open up, find an interesting list, and lose yourself in glorious information. The eight (broadly interpreted) chapters are:
- Space: Including black holes, Dark Matter, astronaut toilet habits, and raining gemstones.
- Nature: Including stinky fruit, a cosmic calendar, types of cloud, and rainbows.
- Dinosaur Times: Including eggs, incorrect theories, powerful bites, and paleontology.
- Animals: Including immortal jellyfish, fish poo, clever dogs, and long-distance travelers.
- The Body: Including belly buttons, fingerprints, dreams, and body gunk.
- Being Human: Including pogo sticks, fake fairies, tiny countries, and weird rules.
- Inventions: Including undercover pigeons, flying rubbish trucks, vending machines, and future tech.
- Game Changers: Including short-lived monarchs, chess champions, loud burps, and tiny works of art.
The topics I’ve listed as “including” are merely the tip of the information iceberg hidden within the pages of Listified!.
Each page takes roughly the same form. Lists are either one to a page or double-page, and usually have 10 entries. Some have more, some fewer. Each list has a heading and then each entry in the list has a brief description of what it is and why it’s been included. More often than not, lists will contain asterisks to footnotes. The footnotes are where most of the jokes are but also contain lots more interesting bits of information. Some entries have go-to arrows, “>>,” that send readers to another page for some related facts.
LIstified! is closed out by a comprehensive glossary and index, followed by a list of sources.
The very last list in the book contains a list about Listified!, listing (among other things) the interesting fact that tardigrades appear in six of the book’s lists. Frankly, who doesn’t love a tardigrade? That’s six reasons to read the book right there.
Why Read Listified! by Andrew Pettie?
This is a supremely impressive book. A book of lists might have failed but Listified! is never dull and is surprisingly comprehensive. There’s all manner of fascinating detailed information across a huge range of topics. The list format works very well. Andrew Pettie uses it to bring together related bits of disparate information. One list can cover both the mundane and the extraordinary.
Topics aren’t just things like “planets,” “dinosaurs,” or “bones.” Each heading gets its own Listified! spin. So, as part of the “Space” section, we get a list of how high you could jump on particular planet (or moon). In “Dinosaurs” we learn which were the fastest, and what species had the biggest wingspan. For “Bones,” we don’t just learn bone names but also the longest and those most often broken. The body section also includes a list of bodily noises and another for fingerprint types.
I could keep listing the fascinating subjects in this book until I ran out (there are 300, so I would eventually!). Every list is interesting; there is something to draw your attention on every single page. Better still, all this wonderful information is backed up by great illustrations (from Andérs Lozano) and some lovely photos.
Books about facts are perennial gifts for inquisitive children and in my years at GeekDad I’ve reviewed quite a few. Listified! is most definitely up there with the very best. It packages information in a beautiful format, that will entice readers to learn and learn.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of Listified! by Andrew Pettie you can do so here, in the U.S., and here, in the UK.
Don’t just take my word for it, check out the other reviews in the Listified! blog tour!
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review.