Monday, January 16, 2012

Munchkin Mondays (or, What My Kids are Reading)

My (almost) 9 year old son has chosen:
Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Strikingly True

Publisher's Blurb:
For the legions of dedicated Ripley’s fans, and anyone else on the planet who loves unbelievable facts and jaw-dropping images, the latest annual in our bestselling series is a feast of delights. Be amazed at a portrait made from 200,000 dead ants, the man who traversed the English Channel by holding onto a bunch of balloons, and the single human hair featuring paintings of all 42 American presidents. A compendium of incredible and bizarre facts, stories, interviews and features, presented in a stunning new design, this book also drives readers to Ripley’s fully interactive website. There are intriguing interviews with some of the astounding individuals who are featured in the book that spotlight their achievements and reveal more about what motivates them.
A dramatic eight-page gatefold sections presents Ripley’s first ever odditorium, which showcased sideshow performers and was built for the World’s Trade Fair in 1933. This features a selection of choice memorabilia including Robert Ripley’s original annotated list of performers. Informative “Ripley’s Research” boxes give the scientific explanation behind some of the most incredible tales in the book, such as how people have turned their fingers into magnets.
A section on the Olympic games, past and present, highlights the wacky as well as the amazing feats that have taken place at the height of sporting achievement.
Additional black and white Ripley archive photographs feature throughout the book, and miscellaneous lists are also scattered throughout. This year specially commissioned photographic features will also appear in the book.

The Interview:
Sean loves reading, especially anything with weird and fascinating subjects.  And by weird and fascinating I really mean gross and icky, preferably body function related.  He has read all of the Captain Underpants books several times, but is also currently on Book 5 of the Harry Potter series, so I consider that a good balance.  But other book reading screeched to a stop when he got this book for Christmas.

Mom:  So why is this book so awesome?
Sean:  Because it show me the most interesting things, and the weirdest. And funniest!
Mom:  Like what?
Sean:  Like an olive python from Africa that tried to pull a wawroo out of a watering hole.
Mom:  What the heck is a wawroo?
Sean:  I'll show you. (He gets the book.) 
(Pause, while I look at an amazing photograph of an olive python pulling a wallaroo up a bank in Australia.  Turns out a wallaroo is a marsupial related to the kangaroo.  I did not know that!)
Mom:  Alright, that photo was amazing and awful.  What else do you like?
Sean:  The grossest thing is the most dangerous sport in the US.  A soccer player in 2004 jumped onto a fence to celebrate a goal, and when he jumped down his wedding ring caught on the fence and tore off half his finger. (The book has a full page photo of soccer player Paulo Diogo holding up his hand with a bloody, half-gone finger yelling.  He was able to resume a successful career).
Mom:  Wow, that is amazing.  Soccer's usually not that dangerous.  That's why you can't wear rings in some jobs.
Sean:  I want to tell you something else!  Kamikaze Carpenter Ants! "A species of ants found in Borneo has a gruesome way to defend its colony.  Designated soldier ants wait until a predator is close by and then sacrifice themselves by exploding glands that run along their bodies.  These glands contain a sticky poisonous glue that ensnares the would-be invader, but also kills the carpenter ant in the process."
Mom:  Who do you think would like this book?
Sean:  I say people who like gore will like this book.  And blood, sweat and tears!

Ripley's Special Edition 2012 Ripley's Believe It or Not! Seeing is Believing NG Kids Ultimate Weird but True: 1,000 Wild & Wacky Facts and Photos Guinness World Records 2012

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