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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Peculiar Questions and Practical Answers

Peculiar Questions and Practical Answers

A Little Book of Whimsy and Wisdom from the Files of the New York Public Library

New York Public Library; Illustrations by Barry Blitt

St. Martin's Griffin

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The New York Public Library staff answers questions remarkable and preposterous, with illustrations by Barry Blitt.

Have you’ve ever wondered if you can keep an octopus in a private home? Do you spend your time thinking about how much Napoleon’s brain weighed? If so, Peculiar Questions and Practical Answers is the book for you. The New York Public Library has been fielding questions like these ever since it was founded in 1895. Of course, some of the questions have left the librarians scratching their heads…

“In what occupations may one be barefooted?”
“What time does a bluebird sing?”
“What does it mean when you’re being chased by an elephant?”
“What kind of apple did Eve eat?”
“How many neurotic people are there in the U.S.?”

In Peculiar Questions and Practical Answers, the staff of the NYPL has dug through the archives to find thoughtful and often witty answers to over one hundred of the oddest, funniest, and most whimsical questions the library has received since it began record-keeping over seventy-five years ago. One of The New Yorker’s best-known and beloved illustrators, Barry Blitt, has created watercolors that bring many of the questions hilariously to life in a book that answers, among others, the question “Does anyone have a copyright on the Bible?”

Can you give me the name of a book that dramatizes bedbugs? (1944)

We have not found any books that dramatize the lowly bedbug. Bedbugs, though traumatic to many who encounter them, are rather undramatic insects. They quietly drink blood,...

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New York Public Library; Illustrations by Barry Blitt

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources on their website. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support on their website.

Barry Blitt

St. Martin's Griffin

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