Why Spacemen Can't Burp
London, Random House, 2013, 209p
The format of Mitchell Symons' non-fiction books is pretty flawless: filled with comedy and illustrations, sampling facts in bite sized chunks, with answers to questions you never even thought to ask.
In this book, Symons picks the brains of scientists, historians and sociologists to better understand why it is considered unlucky to spill salt, why people say "I'll raincheck", and who invented crisps.
I learnt lots of new facts reading this book, though I cannot really remember anything specific now. This is the kind of book you dip in and out of over time, readign a few facts here and there over the course of several weeks.
As such, it is ideal non-fiction reading for reluctant teenagers or high ability younger children. Symons is accessible and friendly, admitting when he has struggled to find an answer and engaging extensively with his audience - most of the questions in this book have been sent in by his readers, giving us an interesting insight into the mind of the curious teenager...