I find it rather amusing that my 9-year-old son can’t handle seeing tiny hairballs on the floor from his beloved pet cat but that he was completely enthralled by the FOUR POUND tiger hairball (picture on pg. 9) that was the size of a basketball! Looking through these books with my son, I always alternate between fascination and disgust. And even though my own disgust sometimes outweighs my fascination, there’s something magical about bringing home a book that makes your child jump up and down with excitement and beg for just a few more pages before he has to go to bed.
Some of the most fascinating items in this issue were:
- the skateboarding mice who can even jump through a ring of fire (pp. 14-15)
- a woman named Barbie Thomas who, despite losing both of her arms at 2 years of age, has gone on to compete in fitness contests (pg. 97)
- the man who took a picture of himself every single day for 12 years — a total of 4,514 photos! (pg. 152)
- the Canadian base jumper who, after becoming paralyzed in a 2004 BASE-jumping accident, now jumps in his wheelchair (pg. 175)
- the pumpkin artists (pp. 208-209) who are capable of turning pumpkins into sculptures of ghouls, goblins, and monsters
And some of the more disgusting items were:
- the bedside table made from an actual, stuffed sheep (pg. 29)
- the Sufi holy man who used a sharp stick to practically gouge out his own eye during the Urs religious festival in Ajmer, India (pg. 41)
- the short-horned lizards that quirt blood from their eyes as a defense mechanism to scare of predators (pg. 90)
- the “snot shots” (pg. 201) from artist Ulf Lundin’s Bless You project, in which people sneezed at a camera without covering their mouth/nose… ack!
If you’re looking for a conversation-starting/engrossing book to share with a tween, the Ripley’s books are a pretty sure bet.
As you might recall, my son and I absolutely LOVE to check out all the incredible pictures and stories in these books! When I brought this latest edition home, he was actually disappointed that we had to sit down to eat dinner instead of going straight to the couch to check it out. :-)
Some of our favorite wacky and creepy items in this edition were:
- “Fake Family” [p. 26] — Alice Winstone has spent nearly $20,000 creating a nursery for 50 lifelike baby dolls that she “feeds,” bathes, and even sleeps with.
- “Corpse Bride” [p. 48] — though the owner of the bridal shop says it is only a mannequin in the front window, many people believe that she is really the preserved corpse of the previous owner’s daughter.
- “Speared Skull” [p.110] — a 3D scan of construction worker Eduardo Leite’s skull after a 6 foot long metal bar fell and pierced through his hard hat and his skull. Amazingly, Eduardo lived and was not even paralyzed!
- “Triathalon Juggler” [pp. 170-1] — Joe Salter of Pensacola, FL, completed a triathalon… while juggling the entire way!
- “Candy Magic” [p. 204] — an artist named Jason Mecier created a portrait of Harry Potter using only red and black licorice.
- “Lickable Wallpaper” [p. 215] — inspired by Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, this wallpaper featured cake-flavored stickers — each of which was replaced by an attendant after someone licked it to avoid the spread of germs.
- “Webbed Wonders” [p. 237] — workers from Clearwater’s High Rise Window Cleaners dressed in Spider-Man costumes to clean windows at the All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL. Talk about a great way to raise morale!
I could go on and on… but, really, you just need to get your hands on a copy and check it out for yourself!
My son and I like looking through these books together to see who can gross the other one out with the weirdest things. I usually lose, but we both end up in hysterics!
Some of the grossest things we found in this edition included:
- the gardener who accidentally impaled himself through the eye with a pair of gardening shears (p. 112)
- the biologists at Cambridge University who genetically engineered E. chromi bacteria to change the color of feces depending on ailments in the subject’s body (p. 98)
- the “vomit artist” Millie Brown, who consumes soy milk mixed with food dyes before sticking her fingers down her throat to make herself vomit onto the canvas (pp. 206-7)
There are plenty of interesting things that are NOT completely disgusting, as well. Some of our favorites were:
- the Gum Man, Chris Antes, who can sculpt gum into intricate shapes without his hands (p. 216)
- the panda suits worn by keepers at the panda conservation centers in western China (p. 54)
- the SEGA game “toylets” found in urinals in Japan which measure the strength and accuracy of the gamer’s aim while peeing (p. 168)
Happy Teen Read Week!
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not books are always so much fun to look through! My son and I spent HOURS poring over the photos and accompanying stories. Some of our favorite stories included:
- the dogs who were painted to look like pandas and tigers [to raise awareness of endangered species]
- the man who could lift 110 pounds of iron weights with his mouth
- the bacon sculpture of Kevin Bacon
- and coffins that looks like cars!
This book will appeal to people of all ages, so I am definitely adding it to the non-fiction collection in my Teen Area. The only BAD thing about this book is that it seems to be a time-sink; I told my son we only had time to read few pages and ended up completely engrossed for 45 minutes! Especially since I am a librarian, though, accidentally reading for “too long” with my son is a risk I’m willing to take.