Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ripley's Believe It or Not Special Edition 2010

Biblio Bits Ripley's Believe It or Not! Special Edition 2010, Ripley Entertainment Inc. , 2009 (ISBN 9780545143455)

Reading Level/Interest Age Ages 9-12

Genre Nonfiction

Plot Summary
Everything you ever wanted to know about what's wacky, weird, and wonderful in the world. Chapter headings include "On the Road," "Take Off," "Way to Live," "Art and Minds," "All Shapes and Sizes," and "Call of the Wild." Ever wonder about great triumphs of toothpick-sculpting? A LEGO tower that is almost 100 feet tall? How about a ten-mile-long gum-wrapper chain that took 40 years to make? Glow-in-the-dark tattoos? The Human Jigsaw Puzzle who is covered with tattoos, has horn implants, body piercings, and reshaped ears? All of this plus many more weird facts, people, and strange things---believe it or not!

Critical Evaluation
This title, like The Guinness Book of World Records, has great appeal for tweens. There is lots of potential for gross-out and wonderment within these pages. It is a great choice for magazine-lovers, as the pages and format read like a magazine: brief "articles" and lots of sidebars and photographs. The reading level is not high, so it may also be a good selection for reluctant readers.

Reader's Annotation
The most miniature knitted gloves, the tallest LEGO tower, mosaic art made with fruit stickers, a Cooper Mini with a toupee, and a man who cured his cancer by eating sand---all this and more within these pages! A great book for browsing and flipping through.

Author Information
Robert Ripley lived from 1890-1949 and worked as an illustrator for The New York Globe. He collected and published the quirky real-life wonders in a cartoon for The Globe. The cartoon was so popular that Ripley began traveling the world in search of new stories. According to the preface in the book, he traveled to over 200 countries and covered over 464,000 miles. There are 30 Ripley's Believe It or Not! museums worldwide, it was a TV show, and it is an annual publication. (Information in this biography is from the book itself.)

Challenge issues
There are plenty of things one might object to in this book, both aesthetically and morally (see above for examples). The larger issue of spectatorship with regards to other human beings and their choices or anomalies, could raise some lively debate.

Booktalking Ideas
A perfect book to include in a booktalk that features the theme of gross, weird and wacky. Coupling this title with The Guinness Book of World Records, The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science (Connolly), and maybe featuring the magazine National Geographic Kids could make an appealing booktalk for reluctant (boy?) readers.

Curriculum Ties
A fun creative writing prompt for this title might be to choose a page at random and to create some sort of backstory for one of the entries listed. What's it like for the Chinese waitress whose feet are turned the wrong way? How did she learn to walk? How did the man who created the longest gum-wrapper chain get his idea? What was he like as a kid, when he started it? What would it have been like to be involved with making the world's largest donut sculpture, sculpted out of real donuts?
The options are endless. It could also be an opportunity for a social studies research project or teaching research skills, to examine some of the places and details of the events and locations that are mentioned.

Why this book?
I had to have some representation of the gross-out genre in this project!


Rockport Public Library owns?

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