Although themed into rough encyclopedic categories of society, people, science, nature, etc, if you read the book cover to cover it flicks between these, ‘shufflepedia’ style. What is more, underlined words denote topics you can look up elsewhere in the book (not just to a glossary, textbook style, but via the index to pretty loosely related other topics - the idea is to lock you into surfing through the book, as you would wikipedia). This is part of its approach to knowledge, which argues that everything is connected.
One of the theoretical pieces I’ve used a lot in my research is an article by Ron Curtis which argues that the ‘closure’ of narrative structure forces science stories into false conclusions. Curtis argues science opens up questions rather than closing them with answers, it runs in a constant 'ebb and flow' of ideas, not to a neat happily-ever-after of a singular conclusion.
Pick Me Up is not the only book to try to get around the constrictions of traditional structures (be they narrative, or as with encyclopedias, more thematic) to produce a more naturalistic 'ebb and flow'. Today, I happened to pick up another children’s science book that does similar thing, through the very traditional device of the footnote - Why is Snot Green, by Glenn Murphy. Some examples:
There aren't all the footnotes in the book (it's littered with them) just a semi-random selection. Notably, Murphy's references tend not to be a simple ‘see also’, but a way of sparking interest in another topic or a way of explaining in more detail. They tend to have a lot more context than the Pick Me Up ones. Generally, Murphy's book takes a conversational approach to structure, based around questions Murphy suggests we ask (or should ask) about science, sometimes questions spin off each other, eg (also from page 48 of the book):
I wonder at what point in writing Murphy decided to fracture his narrative so, and I wonder if Curtis is right - is there something about science writing that works against the closure of traditional storytelling? (see this post for a different perspective on a similar topic).