Paperbacks: Match Wits With the Kids, by Jonathan Green

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The Independent Culture

Though based on the yawn-making "Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum", this jolly compendium will enlighten all who dip in.

It defines the terms used by fancy-pants reviewers (denouement, oxymoron, Zeitgeist), encourages glee at algebraic equations ("Amazing, isn't it?"), explains why snot is green (the digestive enzymes that attack bacteria contain ferrous compounds), chants the list-of-monarchs rhyme quoted by Alan Bennett in Forty Years On: "Willie, Willie, Harry, Stee...", tells us what the Spanish is for "Where is the toilet?" and translates mea culpa: "'My fault' or 'Whoops!'" Green deserves 10/10.