________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 39. . . .June 6, 2014


The Big Book of Crazy Canadian Trivia.

Pat Hancock. Illustrated by Bill Dickson & Dimitri Kostic.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2014.
379 pp., pbk. & html, $12.99 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4431-2831-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4431-3306-7 (html).

Subject Heading:
Canada-Miscellanea-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Betsy Fraser.

*** /4



Pigs don’t drink tea, they don’t water gardens and they certainly don’t take baths. In fact, they do very few things that consume water. On average, one Canadian pig uses just 7 to 8 litres of water a day hanging out on a pig farm. That’s how much Canadian humans use just washing their hands under a running tap. On average, a Canadian uses about 350 litres of water a day, at least fifty times as much as a pig’s daily consumption and more than three times as much as a Dane uses in Denmark. Oink, oink . . .


The information contained in the three volumes of trivia contained in this bind-up presents readers with a treasure trove of historical information about Canada, moments from Canadian history, and famous Canadians, of which most will be unfamiliar to young readers.

     The author presents her information in a variety of styles, varying from quotes, accompanied by information about the speaker, to narrative information about famous places, things, records and events, to bulleted segments marked “Did You Know,” all of which will serve to help introduce students, readers and their teachers to the country and many surprising and novel things about Canada, or to win at the Canadian version of Trivial Pursuit. The cartoon illustrations and humourous, often sarcastic, style in which the author finishes her tidbits will appeal to reluctant readers, as with Hancock’s description of the world’s largest octopus, Octopus dofleini, an animal that learns by mimicking other animals. Hancock’s summary concludes “Researchers who have studied these creatures think that they’re very smart and can teach each other what they’ve learned. Thank goodness they haven’t learned to slip aboard boats and hitch a ride. Yet.”

     Trivia fans will be able to either read the book or open it anywhere and peruse it at their leisure. One potential drawback to the age of these books is that many of the record holders included, such as Marlene Raymond’s limbo dancing or the world’s longest hockey game, have now been broken. As the book’s only back matter are some photo credits, this could provide a valuable opportunity for interested researchers in how to investigate the validity or further happenings of any of the included material, providing a wealth of material about Canadiana for public and school classrooms.


Betsy Fraser is a Selector with the Calgary Public Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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