Scottish Daily Mail

Can you crack my fab­u­lous quizzica Bri­tan­nica?

The fa­mous encycloped­ia is pub­lish­ing its first chil­dren’s edi­tion for a gen­er­a­tion. Here, JOANNA LUM­LEY launches a week of glo­ri­ous pull­outs burst­ing with mind-bog­gling facts and teas­ing trivia for you and your fam­ily

- By Joanna Lum­ley London

DID you know t hat African ele­phants only sleep for two hours a day? Or that one day on the Moon lasts as long as 27 of our Earth ones? Well, nei­ther did I un­til I was lucky enough to spend a day record­ing a se­ries of ab­so­lutely won­der­ful, five-minute-long re­ally true sto­ries for bed­time, com­piled by the team be­hind the bril­liant bri­tan­nica All New Chil­dren’s Encycloped­ia.

It was one of the silver lin­ings in the dark­est mo­ments of lock­down ear­lier this year. With my lat­est film­ing project post­poned for weeks, if not months, spend­ing a day dis­cov­er­ing all kinds of weird and won­der­ful facts from this beau­ti­fully il­lus­trated com­pen­dium proved fas­ci­nat­ing — and a wel­come dis­trac­tion.

After­wards, as I made the swift walk home from the record­ing stu­dio in south Lon­don, I felt ex­traor­di­nar­ily up­lifted. I had learned so much! read­ing those sto­ries made me feel just a lit­tle wiser and a lit­tle younger than i felt be­fore.

I also had time to re­flect on what I con­sider to be pretty much the most im­por­tant thing we can pass down to our chil­dren: knowl­edge.

So you’ll un­der­stand how thrilled I am to launch a fab­u­lous daily Mail se­ries based on two ex­traor­di­nary new books: the bri­tan­nica All New Chil­dren’s Encycloped­ia and bri­tan­nica’s 5-Minute re­ally true sto­ries for bed­time, out this week in hard­back.

Start­ing to­day and con­tin­u­ing all next week, pre­pare to em­bark on a jour­ney of dis­cov­ery which will take you through the his­tory of the world — and be­yond.

Best of all, each day will f ea­ture 20 brain­teas­ing ques­tions, along with fas­ci­nat­ing facts and graph­ics, which you can col­lect and keep to form the ul­ti­mate quiz in time for Christ­mas

THANKS to the long pe­ri­ods of lock­down, 2020 has proved to be the year of the quiz; and by the end of next week, you will have com­piled 100 ques­tions to chal­lenge and en­thral all ages, from four to 104.

The re­ally true sto­ries for bed­time i recorded, mean­while, will be ex­clu­sively avail­able for Mail read­ers to lis­ten to. Pre­pare to be as fas­ci­nated as i was.

There are 30 sto­ries in to­tal, each one last­ing about five min­utes, which re­veal some of the amaz­ing things which hap­pen at night — from record-breaking snor­ers to the mag­i­cal North­ern Lights and the many, many beds of king tut.

The new encycloped­ia for chil­dren, the first to be pub­lished by the bri­tan­nica Group in a gen­er­a­tion, draws on hun­dreds of years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the art of telling true sto­ries, which be­gan with the first Encycloped­ia bri­tan­nica in 1768.

The brain­boxes at bri­tan­nica have un­earthed all man­ner of in­trigu­ing tit­bits from the past, such as the amaz­ing tale of the ‘dead’ Egyp­tian desert snail put on dis­play at the bri­tish Mu­seum in 1846 — only for it to wake up four years later and eat some cab­bage!

Who knew that while the oldest stars are about 13 bil­lion years old, the youngest are younger than you and me? Or that owls use their ear tufts to com­mu­ni­cate their mood to other owls?

There re­ally is no one bet­ter to ask the ques­tions — and bring you the answers.

Now it’s time to read on to dis­cover what you know. And, more im­por­tantly, what you don’t …

If you would like to buy a copy of the books in our great Bri­tan­nica se­ries for an ex­clu­sive dis­counted price, visit mail­shop.co.uk/bri­tan­nica, or call 020 3308 9193. All New Chil­dren’s Encycloped­ia is £20 (RRP £25) and 5-Minute Re­ally True Sto­ries for Bed­time is £9.09 (RRP £12.99). free uK delivery on or­ders over £15. Pro­mo­tional price valid un­til De­cem­ber 12, 2020.

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