Title: Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Enter If You Dare!
Publisher: Ripley Publishing
Release Date: August 10, 2010
When the box containing Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Enter if You Dare! arrived for review, it was like an early Christmas present. I love Ripley’s, the book, the show, all of it. There’s even one of the 31 Ripley’s museums less than an hour from my house! I haven’t made it there yet, but it’ll happen. It’s on my list!
Enter if You Dare! is the seventh Ripley’s annual and it is absolutely gorgeous. Warning: Girly moment ahead. It’s so bright and shiny and purple! It even has a cool lenticular that makes the cover extra fun to look at. I know they say never to judge a book by its cover, but the cover is so cool! Okay, I’ve regained control of myself. Girly moment over.
Moving past the cover, the inside of the book is awesome too, which of course is rather important. It’s filled with bright, glossy pages overflowing with incredible facts and amazing images. It’s really hard to rip your eyes off it. The book is broken down into twelve general categories, making it easy to find whatever type of weird and wonderful you’re currently in the mood for.
I love how there are both full page spreads dedicated to one amazing topic and pages full of little snippet-sized stories too. It makes the book perfect to read a little at a time when you have a few minutes, if you can bring yourself to put it down that is! My copy, now that I’ve read it cover to cover, is likely doomed to become my husband’s next bathroom read and it really is perfect for that kind of reader! (Sorry, honey, didn’t mean to embarrass you too much.)
There are a million great factoids in this book and I can’t possibly share them all with you, but I want to give you a little taste, so here are my favorite bits by category. I’m including page numbers so that when you grab your own copy you can easily find what I’m talking about.
The first category is “Strange But True” and is filled with a wide variety of tidbits. It seems like this is where everything that didn’t fit nicely into one of the other categories went instead, and I loved it because there was such a range of topics! The most memorable for me was titled “Bank Error” (p17), where a guy bought a pack of cigarettes at a gas station and was charged over $23 quadrillion. How does that even happen?! The full page spread about parasites (p18-19) was creepy, but enthralling too!
The next category is “Weird World”, and it contains just that: some of the weirdest locations and phenomenon in the world. My favorite? “Butter Bridge” (p35), where government officials ordered the surfaces of a bridge in China smeared with butter so people couldn’t climb it to kill themselves. Was a fence somehow out of the question? I also loved the full page image of what may be designated a new cloud type (p36-37). It’s just beautiful.
“Animal Antics” is next. There were so many incredible animals in this section, but my two favorites were on the same page, the Piglet Squid and a pink dolphin! (p59) The Hatterpillar was unforgettable too! (p63)
The next section is “Extreme Sports.” I can’t even begin to imagine sleeping in a tent anchored to a cliff face! (p82) That’s just incredible, and the full page image really portrays it well. A rock climber I definitely am not! If that wasn’t crazy enough, how about “Volcano Boarding”? (p85) For those that snowboarding isn’t dangerous enough, why not try riding plywood boards down the side of an active volcano? Yikes!
The section titles “Body Oddity” follows, and is filled with tattoos, piercings and body modifications, birth defects, diseases, injuries, and more; all of them enthralling. I loved “Spooky Eyes” (p96), incredible colored contact lenses that are hand painted by a Hollywood special effects artist and can sell for $750 a pair. The sharks open jaws design is creepy! In this section there is also a fold-out section of the smallest teenager in the world, who is smaller than my four-month-old son, shown actual size (p98-101) and another fold-out that is a tribute to Coney Island (p116-119). I loved this section!
“Travel Tales” is up next, overflowing with amazing modes of transportation and other travel related tales. I especially liked “Rode Kill” (p128-129), a custom motorcycle/work of art that looks like it was made of a decaying corpse, maggots included. It looks absolutely amazing! You also have to check out the life-sized replica of a Hummer H-3 made from losing lottery tickets (p134).
The section titled “Incredible Feats” is filled with just what you’d expect, only more. I can’t believe some of the things people have done, but then that’s the point of the book, isn’t it? “A Game of Squash” (p145), living art by Willi Dorner, is really funny and I would love to see in person a group of people suddenly cram themselves into doorways and other small spots. This section includes a four-page showcase on sword-swallowing (p146-149). By the way, did you know that February 28th is International Sword Swallowers Awareness Day? You do now!
Next comes “Bizarre Mysteries.” These were especially cool. I love this kind of thing, like “Floor Faces” (p167), where faces repeatedly appear on kitchen floor tiles, no matter how many times the floor is replaced, and even when the old cemetery underneath is removed! There’s a huge double fold-out on Vampires too! (p169-176) Who could ask for more?!
“Fantastic Food” can be a little stomach turning at times. I can tell you honestly that I have absolutely no interest in eating bugs, mice, or partially formed baby ducks straight from the egg. Yech! I’m also in no way interested in drinking snake wine! (p183) I loved the cakes made in incredible shapes, and in such amazing detail (p185) and I feel sympathy burning pain for those who competed in a red hot chili pepper speed eating competition (p191). Owie!
“Artistic License” is filled with incredible artistic feats, be it weird materials, strange techniques, or simply incredible creations. One that I found especially cool is “Phonebook Faces” (p206), where an artist uses old phone books to create a three-dimensional drawing. To me, it looks like a ghost trying to force its way out of the pages and into our world. Really impressive! There’s a big image of anamorphosis, (p208-209) art that only works when viewed at the right angle. These are the coolest works of art I’ve ever seen! I also can’t get through this section without mentioning the photos of flies (p214-215) doing very unfly-like things, such as riding a tiny skateboard. Too fun!
“Amazing Science” is really cool. I was awed by the “Microscopic Snowman” (p225), just 0.01 mm across. What inspires people to make these types of things that seem impossible? There are lots of interesting prosthetics and other very useful inventions, along with a bunch of things that just make me want to ask why! Science really is amazing, isn’t it?”
The final section is “Beyond Belief,” which starts with one girl’s collection of more than 13,400 Pokemon items. (p230) Wow, just…wow! If that wasn’t a wow inducing moment for you, how about “Hospital Creche” (p234), a quickie about a law in Nebraska allowing parents to leave a child of any age at a hospital without the risk of prosecution. One of the first people to take advantage of the law dropped off nine children, ages 1-17. Wow.
Let’s not end on a sad note, though. One of the coolest photos in the entire book is also in this section; a tattoo that looks like skin has been ripped away, revealing a Spider-Man costume underneath. It is absolutely incredible and gives me a powerful desire to touch it, just to be sure it really is a tattoo!
Cover to cover, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Enter if You Dare! is an amazing adventure and I wholly recommend it!
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars