Ripley's Believe It or Not! 2012 by Robert Leroy Ripley

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Ripley's Believe It or Not! 2012 by Robert Leroy Ripley

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A collection of bizarre facts and features which is more subtly educational than you might think at first glance.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: October 2011
Publisher: Random House Books
ISBN: 978-1847946706

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Here at Bookbag we don't usually cover annuals. In our experience people either know they want them or don't bother with them and once the year is out there's not a lot of interest in them, particularly if they're based on a character which might well have gone out of fashion. Ripley's Believe It Or Not! is different. The series is about interesting facts – all of which are true - which are going to surprise the readers and will continue to surprise them years down the line. Just to test this out we had a look back at the 2010 edition and it's still as shocking, gruesome and downright compulsive as it was when we first saw it.

For 2012 the Olympic Games had to feature and there's a section on the whacky and amazing feats of the Games. I've seen quite a bit about the Olympics recently, but I didn't know that at the 1896 Athens Games the sea where the swimming races were held was so cold that many competitors gave up and had to be rescued. Even more amazingly, at the 1924 Paris Olympics, Finland's Paavo Nurmi won the men's 1500 metres final – and just over an hour later won the 5000 metres final, setting Olympic records for both events. That's one special athlete.

There's the usual collection of the bizarre, including a portrait of Bill Clinton made entirely from burger grease (please – no comments…) and a road sign embedded in the middle of rocky solidified lava – which reads No Parking. A cat predicts death, a man chews molten lead and a man dissects the embalmed body of his father live on Indian television. Some of the facts are completely bizarre but you'll find interviews which explain the why and Ripley's Research boxes which give scientific explanations.

It's gently educational, aiming to interest and then explain rather than the other way around, as so often happens. You might be horrified (I have a problem with snakes and I was slightly more than horrified at one point), you might find something gruesome, you might be fascinated but I promise that you will not be bored. And then there's that eye on the front cover, which is going to create lots of discussion…

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Along similar lines, we've recently enjoyed Discover the Extreme World by Camilla de la Bedoyere, Clive Gifford, John Farndon, Steve Parker, Stewart Ross and Philip Steele. For more about those Games try [The Story of the Olympics by Richard Brassey]].

Buy Ripley's Believe It or Not! 2012 by Robert Leroy Ripley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ripley's Believe It or Not! 2012 by Robert Leroy Ripley at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Ripley's Believe It or Not! 2012 by Robert Leroy Ripley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ripley's Believe It or Not! 2012 by Robert Leroy Ripley at Amazon.com.


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