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Pick Me Up: Stuff you need to know...    by David Roberts & Jeremy Leslie order for
Pick Me Up
by David Roberts
Order:  USA  Can
DK Publishing, 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The bright and busy 3D cover will entice anyone to do as the title says, pick up this unique reference book. It's aimed at ages ten to sixteen, pre-teens and teens who are used to the media barrage of television and the Internet. Open the book up to any page, and you're faced with a snappy title and/or question - like Five Speeches that Changed the World or Who Switched the Lights On? - along with a colorful collage of photos, drawings, subtitles stimulating text, and links to related tidbits of knowledge on other pages.

At the beginning comes guidance on How to use me - find information by browsing, via the index, or by following links between pages - very like the underlined links we're all used to following through the web. Subject categories include: Science, technology and space; Society, places and beliefs; History; The Natural World; People who made the world; Arts, entertainment and media; You and your body; and Planet Earth. Many comments have shock value, challenging you to think, as in 'Libraries are full of hot air' on the Books vs. Television page - this goes on to remind us how many stories originated in spoken tales, handed down through generations.

As a fan of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I love the What is the Meaning of Life? page - it tells you to turn to page 42, which then waxes philosophical. Other pages suggest simple experiments, or challenge you to find one item that's different from the others. Learn that you can get a live lobster from a Japanese vending machine, that popcorn dates back to the Aztecs, that giraffes only need two hours sleep a day, and what happens when you try to drink a cup of coffee on the moon (nothing good!) There's even an engaging (brief) history of medicine in six chapters (in cartoon format).

This is a book that will be picked up and perused often, each foray into it - and through its hyperlinked pages - acquiring a different eclectic selection of Stuff you need to know... Enjoy Pick Me Up as a pleasant and painless way to increase your general knowledge of life, the universe and everything.

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