Top 10 For Boys 2014 by Paul Terry

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Top 10 For Boys 2014 by Paul Terry

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Yes, it does what it says on the tin, and just as well as you'd expect from such a pictorially bold and colourful trivia book.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Hamlyn
ISBN: 9780600623458

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OK, I'll admit – sometimes there comes a time when it would appear terribly easy to post a review of a book, when something so self-explanatory pops up that a description of it hardly seems necessary. And you can judge the contents of this book similarly easily too – it takes the Top Ten of Everything format developed by the late Russell Ash, and makes it funkier, smaller, more brashly colourful, and apparently, suitable for boys. There are unofficial, opinionated lists, and bits where kids can scribble their own content and ratings. But despite how easy it is to get a handle on the book, I do hereby solemnly swear etc that I read almost every word, and just as I should, even no longer being a boy I learned a lot.

I'm not going to pour scorn on the whole cynical exercise of turning a perfectly decent family-friendly book into a glossy, must-have for boys, because I like the smaller format, the roughly-plastinated cover to make it feel like a skateboard, and the design (more or less). It does feel a little awkward when we're told it's been made boy-friendly, and you hit lists of lengthy film franchises that have to be child-suitable and so leave out horror sequences – it can't even get 'Fast and Furious' on us. It does cover a lot that boys are supposed to be in awe of – long bridges, long jumps, long-running TV sci-fi, long tanks (most of which are unfortunately just one-off prototypes) and so on. But all the suitable categories are here and pictorially discussed too – 2012's most streamed and downloaded and twitter-followed pop acts, lethal creatures, and biggest sports stadia.

In sports it shows its American colours too well – I'm glad it likes mixed martial arts more than daring to mention a 15-certificate film. And dare I say it has an American bent when it says St Peter's Basilica is in Italy, when it isn't, really? Yes, there were a couple of times when having read every word I found an eyebrow rising – tallies in the tables being in the wrong numerical order, and the fact that Sir Ian McKellen has been Gandalf six times already? – well, it's just future-proofing itself I suppose.

But like I say, beyond the slightly dodgy gender politics, I can't quibble. It does look a little messy and hard-to-fathom at times, with the box-outs and annotations to the top ten tables being scattershot on the page, but have you seen a Guinness Book of Records recently?! This format has always been a way of getting greater depth on a category than with Guinness – the progression in fastest round-the-world sailing records over the ten quickest times, for instance – and as such, while necessarily having much less content than its big daddy from Ash, this does serve as an entertaining repository of children's trivia.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Similarly with a masculine bent, Super Geek, Dinosaurs, Brains and Supertrains by Glenn Murphy explains the world to the young scientist.

Buy Top 10 For Boys 2014 by Paul Terry at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Top 10 For Boys 2014 by Paul Terry at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Top 10 For Boys 2014 by Paul Terry at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Top 10 For Boys 2014 by Paul Terry at Amazon.com.


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