Can you crack JOANNA LUMLEY’s week-long quiz?

Can you crack my fabulous quizzica Britannica? JOANNA LUMLEY launches a week of mind-boggling facts and teasing trivia as the encyclopedia is publishing its first children’s edition for a generation

Joanna Lumley, pictured, said she is delighted to launch a new Daily Mail series based on two books: the Britannica All New Children’s Encyclopedia and Britannica’s 5-Minute Really True  Stories for Bedtime

Did you know that African elephants only sleep for two hours a day? Or that one day on the Moon lasts as long as 27 of our Earth ones?

Well, neither did I until I was lucky enough to spend a day recording a series of absolutely wonderful, five-minute-long really true stories for bedtime, compiled by the team behind the brilliant Britannica All New Children’s Encyclopedia.

It was one of the silver linings in the darkest moments of lockdown earlier this year. With my latest filming project postponed for weeks, if not months, spending a day discovering all kinds of weird and wonderful facts from this beautifully illustrated compendium proved fascinating — and a welcome distraction.

Afterwards, as I made the swift walk home from the recording studio in South London, I felt extraordinarily uplifted. I had learned so much! Reading those stories made me feel just a little wiser and a little younger than I felt before.

I also had time to reflect on what I consider to be pretty much the most important thing we can pass down to our children: knowledge.

So you’ll understand how thrilled I am to launch a fabulous Daily Mail series based on two extraordinary new books: the Britannica All New Children’s Encyclopedia and Britannica’s 5-Minute Really True Stories for Bedtime, out this week in hardback.

Starting today and continuing all next week, prepare to embark on a journey of discovery which will take you through the history of the world — and beyond.

Best of all, each day will feature 20 brainteasing questions, along with fascinating facts and graphics, which you can collect and keep to form the ultimate quiz in time for Christmas

Thanks to the long periods of lockdown, 2020 has proved to be the year of the quiz; and by the end of next week, you will have compiled 100 questions to challenge and enthral all ages, from four to 104.

The really true stories for Bedtime I recorded, meanwhile, will be exclusively available for Mail readers to listen to. Prepare to be as fascinated as I was.

Here is a selection of some of the questions contained in the two amazing books

Here is a selection of some of the questions contained in the two amazing books

There are 30 stories in total, each one lasting about five minutes, which reveal some of the amazing things which happen at night — from record-breaking snorers to the magical Northern Lights and the many, many beds of King Tut.

The new encyclopedia for children, the first to be published by the Britannica Group in a generation, draws on hundreds of years of experience in the art of telling true stories, which began with the first Encyclopedia Britannica in 1768.

The brainboxes at Britannica have unearthed all manner of intriguing titbits from the past, such as the amazing tale of the ‘dead’ Egyptian desert snail put on display at the British Museum in 1846 — only for it to wake up four years later and eat some cabbage!

Who knew that while the oldest stars are about 13 billion years old, the youngest are younger than you and me? Or that owls use their ear tufts to communicate their mood to other owls?

There really is no one better to ask the questions — and bring you the answers.

Now it’s time to read on to discover what you know. And, more importantly, what you don’t …

  • If you would like to buy a copy of the books in our great Britannica series for an exclusive discounted price, visit, or call 020 3308 9193. All New Children’s Encyclopedia is £20 (RRP £25) and 5-Minute Really True Stories For Bedtime is £9.09 (RRP £12.99). Free UK delivery on orders over £15. Promotional price valid until December 12, 2020.