Fun Facts in ‘Because I Said So!’ by Ken Jennings

The beloved, brilliant Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings (who also wrote Maphead, Brainiac and Ken Jenning’s Trivia Almanac) tackles the not-so-trivial matters of parenting advice in his latest eye-opening book Because I Said So! The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids. With his trademark wit and genius, he dissects common phrases most adults say to their children at one time or another. Using solid research, he judges whether long-held beliefs are true or false. For example, are poinsettias really poisonous? Definitely not, he writes, citing a hilarious study to prove his point. (The plants aren’t toxic unless you eat a three-story house full.) Part entertainment and part informative, in a style that’s reminiscent of a quiz show, he assures parents that most of the things we worry about won’t hurt us at all. Talking to strangers isn’t so dangerous and those silica gel packets in pill bottles won’t kill anyone. This relieves me greatly, I don’t need to scream in terror when my kids play with them. Some of the topics—don’t sneeze or your eyeballs will fall out—are obviously false, but he skillfully generates interest by telling the reader how these myths originated. And, of course, a few bits like don’t stare at the sun are true. Jennings imparts his usual wisdom and good sense in this highly entertaining and oddly educational book. I’ll keep this one on my favorites shelf—mostly so I can use to it impress my mom friends with funky facts.

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