c.2019. National Geographic
$8.99 ($10.99 Canada)
207 pages

Summer vacation isn’t long enough.

It seems like you just got out of class and the Back to School talk begins. There’s not enough swimming in between, not enough bike-riding, not enough game-playing on a rainy afternoon. But there’s plenty of time to enjoy a good book and “Weird but True! USA” from National Geographic Kids is the one to read.

We all agree: summer is too short, so this year, why not stretch it by challenging yourself to learn something a little different about each of the states in the country?

“Weird but True! USA” can help.

Let’s say you like animals. In this book, you’ll learn about cats in Colorado; moos in Montana; and how the word “skunk” came to be. Find out how a good dog landed a good job at an airport, and how California sea otters store their dinnerware.

Who doesn’t love to eat? “Weird but True! USA” shows you how the colonists fed their sweet tooths, and what a Black Cow was to your Grandma. Find out what America’s favorite ice cream flavor is, and where fortune cookies began. Read about the Kentucky restaurant that challenges diners to eat, eat, eat; and learn about the man who set a world record for chowing down on PB&J sandwiches. Then, learn where most of America’s supply of toothpicks comes from.

Let’s say you’re just curious in general. Here’s what you’ll like: learn what’s special about May in the White House, and how many movies are made in an average day. See why you should visit Casey, Illinois, and find out where Pumpkinville was. Learn how long it takes for a single drop of water to travel from Minnesota to Louisiana, down the Mississippi River. Read about Thor’s Well in Oregon, playtime in the NFL, and how much per acre Alaska cost the U.S.

How weird is that?

You’d like your child to put away the video games this summer, but the season’s fast escaping. You’d love to see your kid turn off the TV and grab a book, but there may not be time for that. So, take a look at “Weird but True! USA” and think again.

Curious minds are fed well with this book, in 300 small bites that young fun-fact lovers will relish. It’s a good mixture, covering a full array of subject matters in a kaleidoscope of quick bits for kids to learn and discuss, and each fact is accompanied by lots of splashy color and appropriate pictures. That makes it fun for kids that like to read, but it also makes it appealing for kids who profess not to. Reluctant readers, in fact, may see enough in here to spur them to finish reading the whole book.

How weird would it be if they asked for more?

Though this little gem is meant for kids ages 7 to 12, teens and adults will surely get a kick out of browsing it. Dive into “Weird but True! USA” and your child might not think it’s long enough.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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