Monday, October 23, 2017

Ripley's Believe It Or Not!: Shatter Your Senses {review}

The press release is tempting:
  • SEE the world’s most expensive dress ever sold at auction, worn by starlet Marilyn Monroe and covered in over 6,000 rhinestones!
  • TASTE the freaky foods featured—from starfish skewers on the streets of Beijing to Australia’s witchetty grub!
  • FEEL the heat as you read about Taiwan’s traditional fire fishing!
  • SMELL the fresh air—which is sold to tourists in Guangdong Province, China, by the bag!
  • HEAR the crowds roar as performers like AcroBritt, Short E. Dangerously, Captain and Maybelle, and Hammer Head take the stage in Ripley’s Exclusive interviews, showcasing their unbelievable talents!
And then there are images like these:

Yep. That's a two foot long sea slug, a woman shooting archery with her feet, and a man with no legs playing pool. These are just a few of the incredible people, animals, events and oddities that are highlighted in the latest volume from Ripley's Believe It Or Not - Shatter Your Senses. There are more than 1000 stories in this collection, including a number of interviews with people featured. One of those interviews is with the gentleman pictured here, Short E. Dangerously. He had both of his legs amputated as a toddler, due to a medical condition. Now he is a side-show performer, traveling the world displaying his amazing skills in acrobatics, fire-breathing, and glass-walking. The interview is a fascinating read.

A two-page spread on Pokemon. Sure to capture your kid's attention!
The remarkable and bizarre stories run the gamut, including historical and current oddities and achievements, amazing animals, rare medical conditions, incredible architecture, fascinating people, and more. Did you know there is a boiling river in Peru? Likely heated by hot springs, this 4 mile long river in the Amazon rainforest heats so high it boils and would inflict third degree burns on human skin in less than a second. Or maybe you're interested in a butcher shop in Dorset, England, that has been in business for more than 500 years, passing through 26 generations of the original butcher's family since the time of King Henry the 8th. For the wildlife enthusiast, you can read about the Pacific striped octopus, who gently taps its prospective prey on the shoulder to startle it into it grip. This octopus also kisses and cuddles during mating, and feeds its partner.

So many cool things to learn in this book, but then again I'm not surprised since we've always enjoyed the Ripley's publications. Michael and I have been devouring this one in turns. These types of non-fiction, or "fact books" as he called them in kindergarten, have long been a favourite of his, and he preferred them to story books or novels until about 4th grade. The weirder and wilder the better, I think because they expanded his imagination and understanding of what is possible.

One of the great things about Shatter Your Senses, as with the other Ripley's books, is that everything is presented in bite-sized doses. This isn't narrative, so you can pick it up and put it down whenever you have some time to enjoy it. And that's great if you have a reluctant young reader in your family. The content is compelling, and there's great variety so everyone will find something that appeals to them. The reluctant reader can read in smaller doses, and the pressure of "having to finish" a full book is removed.

What do you think? Have you read any of the other volumes in the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! library? Do you have a favourite?

Get Your Copy (affiliate links)

Buy at Indigo

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this volume to facilitate my review. No financial compensation was received. This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase via one of these links, I will receive a small commission from the retailer. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own or those of my family. 

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