Thursday, March 20, 2014

Shelf Life [kids]

Epic Endeavours (A Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Book), 36 pages.
Just when we thought that we knew a thing or two about the world, along comes another Ripley’s Believe or Not book to let us know that there’s a lot more that we DIDN’T  know about … whether we “believe it or not”!
Epic Endeavours introduces us to a man who could blow out candles and inflate balloons using only his ears, a man who could pull his wife in a wagon using his only his eyelids, a woman who swam for 25 minutes along the Antarctic shoreline (in water temperatures that would have given most people hypothermia in less than five minutes) and a tightrope walker who needed just 11.5 minutes to walk 800 m. (a half-mile) tightrope across the Han River in Seoul, South Korea. Unbelievable!
One epic endeavour occurred nearby in Exeter, Ontario, where the local soccer team played against a Stratford team for thirty and a half continuous hours, in May 2007! (The Stratford team won 138 to 105.)
Some of the so-called “epic endeavours” are just plain wacky. Can you imagine seeing someone driving by on a sofa at 140 km / hour, or someone flying by in a lawn chair?  Both of these strange “inventions” have actually been created. (The lawn chair was kept aloft for almost nine hours by 105 large helium-filled balloons.)
Much is packed into this 36-page book, including photos, diagrams and a two-page index. Kids will be fascinated with the truly intriguing things that they’ll discover. (Other titles in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! series include Strange But True, Awesome Feats and Curious Creatures.
** Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.

Weird But True! #5: 300 Outrageous Facts (A National Geographic Kids Book), 205 pages.
The fifth installment in National Geographic’s 300 Outrageous Facts series is just as engrossing  as the previous books.
Did you know that we can smell scents better through our right nostril than our left, that a tyrannosaurus’s arms were so short that it couldn’t scratch its own nose, that some goats can climb trees, and that roasted ants are a popular snack in Columbia? 
Here’s more: the world’s biggest skateboard is almost as long as a school bus, hot water can freeze faster than cold water, and a man once blew a bubble gum bubble that was larger than a basketball. Aha!
Young readers will also be intrigued by an octopus’s unusual ability to detach one of its own arms on purpose and then regrow it … and by the many other quirky, fun (and entirely age-appropriate) facts selected for this book.
With its many eye-catching graphics, uncluttered layout and large print font, this “fast read” will appeal even to reluctant readers.  Like the other books in the series, it can be read over and over again.

** Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years. 

This review appeared in the Stratford Gazette on March 20, 2014. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian. 

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