‘Return to Factopia:’ A Book Review

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Last year, I reviewed Factopia, a great new way of packaging facts for young readers. What I didn’t know at the time was that it was the first in a projected series of 8 books. Author Kate Hale and illustrator Andy Smith Return to Factopia with book 2, once again with all facts checked by the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Why Read the Factopia Books?

Nothing much has changed since book one. If you have a winning formula, why change it?

As before, each fact in the book is linked to the next one, so you can read through the entire book as a string of interconnected information. But of course, you don’t have to. The point of a good encyclopedia is that you can open it anywhere and just start reading. And so it is with Factopia. You can start anywhere and be drawn in. 

Most facts and bits of information in life don’t just have a single link. They usually share common ground with all manner of snippets of trivia. To reflect this, the stream of knowledge in Factopia branches into other tributaries of related information, via “choose your own adventure” style links that tell you to turn to other pages in the book.

The Factopia books really are Geek manna. 

Once again, Return to Factopia consists of double-page spreads of related facts, with a subject heading. As the book opens we go from “Morning” (which actually only has one fact – the sun only rises once at the North Pole), onto “The Sun,” then “Northern Lights,” and “Arctic,” before arriving at a “Fact Frenzy.”

Fact Frenzy pages are crammed full of facts, but they also act as firebreak to allow the theme of the facts to take a sharper deviation from the standard page heading trail.  

There are all sorts of great things in here, from the fact that diamonds melt on the surface of the sun, to the Victorians using Floriography to send messages to each other, or that there’s a pipe organ in Virginia that uses cave stalactites to make its noises. I didn’t cherry-pick those facts for the most interesting ones. That’s just 3 pages, chosen at random, all with fascinating information on them. 

It’s a Fact Frenzy!

I was already converted to the Factopia mission after book number 1. Book number 2 doesn’t offer anything massively different (apart from 400 new facts, of course), but it doesn’t need to. These are great information books perfect for inquisitive children everywhere. 

If you want to pick up a copy of Return to Factopia you can do so here, in the US and, here, in the UK.

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

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