Paperback review: Why Can’t I Tickle Myself?, Edited by Gemma Elwin Harris


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The Independent Culture

Working with primary schools and the NSPCC, Gemma Elwin Harris asked thousands of children between the ages of four and 12 to write down questions that they wanted answered, and then commissioned experts to respond.

The correspondence is collected in this book, which is charming and informative even for grown-ups. Is it OK to eat a worm? (“You bet it is,” says Bear Grylls). Why do we have music? (“Perhaps it was our very first form of communication,” says Jarvis Cocker). Other questions are more creative: “If a cow didn’t fart for a year and then did one big fart, would it fly into space?” The answer, disappointingly, is no.