"Father Knows Less"--or Does He?

Released today, Father Knows Less or: "Can I Cook my Sister?" is a fun new book full of the kids questions ask and feedback from experts less befuddled than dear old dad about the answers. Inspired by his now 7-year-old son Dean, who has never been at a loss for a good question, author Wendell Jamieson solicited questions from lots and lots of kids and then set about to get expert answers.

City editor for The New York Times, Jamieson had a leg up on a lot of dads on sources for answers and help in getting those answers. Good for him--and good for us--because the result is a treasure trove of stuff. The result is sometimes a riot. For example, there's the dominatrix on deck to explain why whips make a whooshing sound when they slice through the air. There's a professor of evolutionary biology to explain why we have eyebrows. A pediatrician from L.A. tackles my daughter's question, "Why are people ticklish, and why sometimes are they not ticklish?" Between laughs, my husband and I found ourselves saying "wow" as we read bits and pieces to each other.

The questions are organized in chapters according to themes. All of them are framed in the context of a family history of little boys asking their dads the tough ones.

In the end, Jamieson sees in himself both his father and his son. In the end in our house, Jamieson becomes something of an oracle--or at least daddy's cousin Helene's husband who wrote the book with all the cool stuff in it. Oracle, for short.

As much as I liked reading this book, the kid in me liked jumping around and not reading it like a book at all. I seem to remember asking some of these questions myself once upon a time. Seeing the answers alongside the questions brought home to me how much fun it can be to find answers.

It's a great book with a super website. I've already declared my bias, so have a look here. You can read an excerpt and see for yourself. Click here to watch Jamieson on today's Today Show.


  1. Anonymous5:41 PM

    Sounds like fun :)

    I think that when relating to other kids as well as our own children it's better to remeber how things were and also, more importantly, how they have changed with the advancement in society in general.

    Many questions asked by my daughter and her friends have answers that do not belong or won't work nowadays, but it's a good laugh turning the years back....decades or centuries depending upon your age LOL

    For many of us it is simply being able to reminisce and then relate it to modern times.....hey, it works for me, and usually causes a riot too, but it's all good fun :)

  2. I'd have to go back centuries to find a time my answers would make sense, even now, Colin.

    Sadly, the answer, "I don't know," never fails to convince my daughter. "I'll let you know as soon as I find out," usually buys me a lot of time!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Anonymous5:51 AM

    thanks for the recommendation.

    if you don't mind may i invite you to participate in new photo meme every monday. thanks and have a good day!

    weekend snapshot


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