Revolting Records by Anne Rooney

Let me preface this review with a question: who the hell challenges an ostrich to a pasta-eating competition and only wins when the ostrich faints?!

Publisher: Barrington Stoke ISBN: 9781781120712 Published: 15/8/2012 RA 8, IA 10-14

The Guinness Book of Records has got nothing on the records in this slender little tome!  Stuff the fastest runner or the tallest man – these are the records you really want to know about, the ones that gross you out and make you go ‘huh?!’. From elephant dung to maggot racing, this is one delightfully disgusting book of facts!

Unsurprisingly the records in this book are disgusting. No really, they are. I mean, I’m pretty sure I could have happily gone my merry bookish way without knowing that such a thing as seagull wine exists, or that one artist forgoes the traditional oil paints and acrylics and instead reckons elephant dung is the best painting material. I could have lived in ignorant bliss, although I’d be the first one to admit that what I read didn’t stop me reading the rest of the book. What can I say, I guess it’s true that everyone likes to be a little grossed out occasionally! I’m pretty sure that’s what’s helped make the Horrible Histories series so phenomanally popular anyway!

It’s not all just about being terribly yucky though; the book has some pretty engaging and varied stories behind it too. My inner historian loved the section Bad Kings and Things and facts such as the hill’s secret in Kyoto (you’ll know it when you read it) weren’t just gross, they were genuinely interesting and had more than just the ick-factor about them.

The only thing I would say about the book is that the records part of the title is a little misleading. I thought it would be like the Guinness Book of Records, full of lists of vaguely retch-inducing facts, little snippets of information. However it was more along the Horrible Histories way of things, with whole paragraphs or pages dedicated to just one record and then their being awarded tasteful ‘sick splats’ by the author as a grossness rating.

So, not so much a record book as a collection of awful facts but pretty engaging nonetheless! Oh, and as it’s a Barrington Stoke book it has a reading age of 8 and interest age of 10-14.

Find Revolting Records in all it’s glory here.





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