“Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Strikingly True” is a smart book to have.

You are a smart kid.

With math, you fear no fraction, you’re a geometry genius, and you’re awesome at algebra. You’re a walking dictionary, a map on two legs and the bomb at Bees. You do science experiments for fun.

Yep, you’re one smart cookie, but your teacher doesn’t know that yet. So how ’bout showing her (or him!) that you know the facts by reading "Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Strikingly True"?

You know how totally fun it is to know stuff that nobody else knows? This book has a lot of that kind of information and a ton of pictures, too.

Let’s say, for instance, that you love mummies. Grab this book and take a look at a baby mummy that looks kinda like a rock, ancient mummy tattoos, a Buddhist monk sporting shades and the "most beautiful mummy" in the world. She’s so well-preserved that she still has eyelashes!

If you have this book in your hands, you can check out a Hawaiian lava flow that’s been running since long before you were born. You’ll see people with looooooong hair, people who are super-tall, folks with magnets in their fingertips (ouch!!) and people who get too, too tattooed. And speaking of magnets, you’ll learn of a cool way to trick your brain into thinking you’re left handed if you’re not.

Read about a pink lake, a red waterfall, and purple snow. Peep a picture of a luxury tractor-trailer limo and inflatable weapons that were really used in war. If your tastes run to the gross (and who doesn’t like a disgusting fact or two?), you learn about John Lennon’s toilet, Mozart-loving sewage, glowing urine and bugs that are bigger than your forearm. You’ll read about a man who put on 211 pairs of underpants, all at the same time. Eeeeeuuuuuwww!!

Find out about the most dangerous sports (you might be surprised!), a set of stairs leading to a real grave, chocolate skulls, dead fly art and a $1,000 hamburger. Learn about poop shoes, blood painting and chewing gum sculpture. Read this book and maybe someday you’ll be like the Scottish woman who read 25,000 books in her lifetime!

Loaded with hundreds of full-color pictures and thousands of cool factlets, "Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Strikingly True" is one of those books you can rest assured kids will love to read because of the subject matter inside it.

What they’ll find in here will satisfy their curiosity and appeal to their sense of odd. Because this book is so browseable, it fits any attention span and several reading levels (although — beware — some of what’s in here might be too scary for smaller kids). And because it’s the same Ripley’s you grew up with, this is one of those books you can get caught reading, too.

But kids will get the biggest kick out of it, so grab one for your young reader next time you’re out. For middle-schoolers and up, "Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Strikingly True" is a smart book to have.

View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer’s syndicated children’s book reviews weekly.

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