Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Book Review - Ripley's Believe It or Not!: Download the Weird


Ripley's Believe It or Not!: Download the Weird

Edited by: Geoff Tibballs
Publisher: Ripley Publishing; Annual edition
Publication Date: September 2012
ISBN: 978-1609910327
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: October 8, 2012

I always look forward to the annual edition of Ripley's Believe It or Not! I got hooked when my kids were younger and loved exploring the pages of this series and now find that I too, love to flip through the books, discovering new and bizarre 'things.' Each year I wonder if it will get old, will the books lose their spice; will the unusual become the usual and lose their luster? I'm happy to report that this new edition is just as much fun as past editions, with plenty to look at and keep both young and old entertained for hours.

No doubt kids will love looking through the pages of this book. There are definitely quite a few photos that will make the reader groan "ewwww..." such as the photos of Leroy Luetscher with a pair of pruning shears impaled into his head (he survived and his eye wasn't lost) and the photo of Bella the dog who had a knife lodged in her head, courtesy of some burglars (she too made a complete recovery). There's the funny, such as the dogs disguised as other animals (something that has become very popular in China) by using 'creative grooming' and the 'Redneck Events,' that include armpit serenades and mud pit belly flops; and the downright odd such as the man who can touch his shoulders together in the front of his chest.

To keep up with changing times, this new edition includes a digital section, with fun and weird facts from the internet. There are 'wacky websites,' 'fascinating Facebook facts,' 'twitter rushes,' 'weird items sold on eBay,' 'strangest apps,' as well as top YouTube videos.

The best part of Download the Weird is that you can now download a new app created just for Ripley's. This app is beyond cool and kids will absolutely love it. I did download the app and while it took me a few minutes to figure out how to get it up and running (and I'm a bit, er, computer challenged so if I can do it...), and then I was off and running. What fun! Instead of just seeing a picture of volcano boarding, you can now see a video of the sport. Simply place your smartphone over the photo (photos that have additional digital material are marked with an 'OddScan' logo) and you're off. The app worked well, was easy to use and my only 'complaint' is that I wish more of the photos in the book included an OddScan logo. It was a blast to use and really brings each story to life.

Quill says: If you love Ripley's, you'll love this new edition. If you've never explored a Ripley's Believe It or Not book, now is the time! With entry into the digital age, the publishers have outdone themselves! What fun!