This year, you've promised yourself that your hand is going to be in the air as much as possible.
Your teacher asks for volunteers, up it goes. There's an oral quiz, your hand is waving over your head. And if there's a question you really know the answer to, you might even put both hands up.
You're working hard to get good grades and raising your hand is a good way to tell the teacher you know your stuff. Another way is to read "Ripley's Believe It or Not! Download the Weird."
So let's say you're on your way to school and you see a gigantic tennis ball coming down the road. There's a reason for it, and it's in this book. There's also reason for gasping when you see pictures of an enormous crocodile. You'll have to look twice.
Or maybe you prefer to look at tattoos. You might even want one someday, but would you want to be like Vampire Woman or Lizard Man? Don't know who they are? Well, you'll meet them both in this book, along with body branders and piercers, a woman with elf ears, and a teenager with bionic fingers. Just don't try any of that at home (or anywhere, for that matter).
Then again, there are lots of things you could do, just because they're cool: try to make a 5-ton rubber band ball, for instance. Or you could break the record for underwater card games, packing your mouth full of straws, or saving money.
Or let's say your Mom sometimes tells you that you've lost your head. You might tell her it's a good thing, once you've read about a woman who went to college after half her brain was removed. And if that grosses you out, then learn about fungus, worms, ticks, bugs, freaks, and other really strange things. Oh, and don't forget Elmer McCurdy's corpse, which was once a TV star!
And if all else fails, check this out: you can still look like a really smart kid by telling your friends about mannequins in the movies. With this book and that fact, you'll prove that you're no dummy!
What kid doesn't want to look smart when it comes to little-known facts? I'll bet yours does, which is why you need "Ripley's Believe It or Not! Download the Weird."
And "weird" is a good word for all the things your child will find in this book: pictures from the Ripley's archives, new photos, and new oddities. As for the "download" part, that's new, too: there are pages that your techno-kids can scan to get more info, extra pictures, and more. And when they're done believing (or not!), they can also contribute their own strangeness to the Ripley's website.
Though there are some potentially scary things for smaller readers in here, I think this book will please anyone ages 11-to-adult. If you've got trivia buffs in your house this fall, "Ripley's Believe It or Not! Download the Weird" is a book to put in their hands.
View runs Terri Schlichenmeyer's children's book reviews weekly.