Trivia book finds ways to entertain Canadians

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Book: Whatever Happened To...?: Catching Up With Canadian Icons

Whatever Happened To...?: Catching Up With Canadian Icons
Written by: Mark Kearney and Randy Ray
Dundurn

3 stars

Did you know Canada’s constitution isn’t kept in Canada?

It’s true! The British North American Act is locked in a vault in Britain, along with acts pertaining to dog laws, questionable marriages and the establishment of asylums for the “Sick, Insane, and other Classes of the Poor.”

Whatever Happened To...? is Mark Kearney and Randy Ray’s eighth book of Canadian trivia. The self-proclaimed “Trivia Guys” provide readers with trivia about 100 famous Canadian performers, athletes and politicians, as well as historical sites, events, and artifacts.

The book is an encyclopedia of forgotten names and places; each subject gets about two pages explaining its significance and its current whereabouts.

Some articles discuss nationally recognizable topics, including the first Tim Hortons coffee shop and Wayne Gretzky’s rookie card. Some facts are about more obscure subjects, like Casey and Finnegan from Mr. Dressup, and others are about subjects which will be completely foreign to anyone born after 1985.

Every article is riddled with interesting statistics, dates and locations. These intricate details are informative but occasionally overwhelming.

The well-researched book successfully educates readers about several lesser-known or nearly-forgotten Canadian icons. Unfortunately, it simultaneously leaves readers feeling unpatriotic due to their unfamiliarity with Canadian icons like Captain Canuck (Canada’s Captain America).

The book’s real charm is its reflection of its authors’ intense passion for trivia. Even dry subjects become interesting because Kearney and Ray took the time to add additional sections marked “Another Thing...,” “Worth Noting...,” and “In Case You Were Wondering...”

These sections contain even more gems of information that trivia-seekers will adore. Readers will likely put the book down repeatedly so they can share their newfound knowledge with someone else.

Though it’s not a great literary novel, Whatever Happened To...? will surely entertain bathroom readers across our home and native land.

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