Richard Hammond's Great Mysteries of the World by Richard Hammond

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Richard Hammond's Great Mysteries of the World by Richard Hammond

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Mysteries and urban legends to investigate and decide about. Lots of dreadful jokes, interesting information, and a fertile basis for argument and discussion. What more could you want?!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: November 2013
Publisher: Bodley Head
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0370332377

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Have you ever wondered whether or not the Loch Ness Monster actually exists? What about the Abominable Snowman? Do you think about what really goes on inside the Bermuda Triangle? Well, don't expect a definitive answer from Richard Hammond's Great Mysteries of the World. You'll have to make up your own mind after being presented with the arguments. You'll need to marshal your brainpower. There are eighteen mysteries here, arranged within four topics - Weird Waters, Alien Encounters, Creepy Creatures and Ancient Treasures. All the biggies are here.

I thought this book was great! It's the first book I've seen that explores mysteries and urban legends and actually allows readers to make up their own minds about what lies behind them. I've had countless lively conversations with my children over the years and exactly along these lines - "Does the Loch Ness Monster really exist?" "Well, it could be a surviving dinosaur, or a giant eel. Some people think it's tree gas. But it could just be a myth. What do you think?" - and I wish we'd had this book for my sons to pore over.

And it's such fun, too - full of the dreadful Hamster jokes that my children find side-splittingly hilarious, even though they make me groan. Each mystery is fully explained as a "mission" and various facts are put forward as evidence. Then the various theories are advanced. After that, it's down to the reader to decide what the truth is. There's a section at the back for notes and decisions. What's particularly great about this organisation is that Great Mysteries is equally fun to read alone or to share and discuss what the final decision should be. There is a great deal of accurate and interesting information here and it will also help develop a reader's critical abilities, without it ever feeling righteous or patronising.

We decided that pirate treasure was out there still, that werewolves and mermaids don't exist but that vampires do. Ok, that last was down to a robust, if somewhat unrealistic, argument made by the most junior member of the household, but that's fine. We enjoyed it.

Christmas is coming up and we are recommending Great Mysteries as a perfect stocking filler for all curious readers. It's funny and interesting. It's packed full of information. And it makes critical thinking fun. What more could you want?

Other great choices in non-fiction include Deadly Peril and How To Avoid It by Tracey Turner and Deadly Days in History by Terry Deary.

Buy Richard Hammond's Great Mysteries of the World by Richard Hammond at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Richard Hammond's Great Mysteries of the World by Richard Hammond at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Richard Hammond's Great Mysteries of the World by Richard Hammond at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Richard Hammond's Great Mysteries of the World by Richard Hammond at Amazon.com.


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