This book is full to bursting with stories and facts that are so completely crazy, weird and astounding that you could well be forgiven for thinking they aren’t true. For instance, there’s the utterly astonishing story of a chicken called Mike who walked around without his head for eighteen whole months. And then there’s the really daft bit about the batty boffin who not only had himself roasted alive in an oven to ‘see what would happen’ , but also had himself lowered into an active volcano. There’s also the tale of the crazy English farmer who liked to go fox hunting on his pet bull, not with foxhounds, but accompanied by his pack of pet pigs!
Why Headless Chickens Runis a collection of wild and whacky true stories from all over the world. As well as the title story, there are stories about medical experimentation, the dangers of kissing (yes really!), the man acknowledged as the father of ‘spoonerisms’ (Is the bean dizzy? Yes, the Dean is busy!) and whose breath is ‘on show’ in the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, USA. There are collections of collective nouns, lists of very unusual first names (Babberley, Strongitharm) and games to play (or not). And for the reader who is after some new magazines, check the list: Hair Growers News; Coil Winding International and Dental Glove Update. There’s something for everyone. Facts and stories are presented in a range of fonts with black and white illustrations.
Nonsense can make for fun reading. But take a care, you might actually learn something here. Granted it may be for situations that you are unlikely to encounter, but you just never know when this information will come in handy! The slowest marathon run ever? The answer is here. And as for Mike, the headless chicken, you’ll learn just how that was possible, as well as discovering a bit about chicken anatomy and human entrepreneurship. Why Headless Chickens Run is great fun, perfect for dipping into or reading from cover to cover. Either way, primary readers will have plenty of information with which to impress their friends. Recommended for mid- to upper primary readers.
Why Headless Chickens Run and Other Crazy Things You Need to Know!, Michael Cox
Scholastic Australia 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
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