Ripley's Believe It or Not 2013 by Robert Leroy Ripley

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Ripley's Believe It or Not 2013 by Robert Leroy Ripley

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The amazing, the marvellous, the freakish and the gut-turning. It's all here and kids will love it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: October 2012
Publisher: Random House
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1847946737

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You know it's getting near Christmas when you spot the annual Ripley's Believe It or Not, the celebration of all that's macabre, shocking, gruesome and frequently downright revolting - and that's just the people. Just wait until you get to the non-human items. We don't usually cover annuals at Bookbag because they've frequently gone out of fashion before too many months have passed, but these books can be read year after year and they're still going to make the average adult feel rather unwell. Yes - you're right. Kids are going to love it.

There's the usual hologram on the front cover. It's not quite as compelling as 2010's eye but it's still very clever. The categories are similar year after year - but they work and that's the important point. My favourite is always the Believe It section and this year we begin with the world's largest family, currently standing at 181 members all of whom live in a 100-room mansion. The compound is run with military precision. Most thought-provoking was the idea that robots with sweaty armpits had been invented. Very useful, I'm sure.

OK - it's not me that the book is aimed at. It's full of the sort of sights which you'd tell a child not to stare at if you met it in the street - the tooth growing in a nose, the woman with a 3'6 cleavage (and still growing, we're assured) or another woman with so many body piercing, tattoos, titanium implants, earlobe tunnels and fangs that you have no difficulty in seeing her as a vampire. I found myself studying the pictures to find some unadorned skin.

There are some things which come under the heading of 'there are good reasons why this shouldn't be done' such as the boat which floats at a 45° angle and appears to be sinking. when the boat appeared on a lake dozens of people called emergency services to report a sinking boat... The book is educational in a broad sense. I was interested in why there were killer sharks on a golf course - they'd been washed into the lake during a flood and had stayed there happily ever since. It certainly encourages people to keep out of the water!

If you buy the book for a child, make a hasty retreat. If not you are going to be bombarded with pictures of people eating things you'd rather not even know about, snakes emerging from the most unlikely places and a technique called corset piercing. If you're of a sensitive nature you could be in for sleepless nights. I'd be very surprised if the first bit you were shown was the fold-out item on the Titanic! Nevertheless, I would still like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. If this book appeals then we can also recommend Illusionology by Emily Hawkins and Predators by Steve Backshall.

Buy Ripley's Believe It or Not 2013 by Robert Leroy Ripley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ripley's Believe It or Not 2013 by Robert Leroy Ripley at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Ripley's Believe It or Not 2013 by Robert Leroy Ripley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ripley's Believe It or Not 2013 by Robert Leroy Ripley at Amazon.com.


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