c.2019. Ripley Publishing
$28.95 ($34.95 Canada)
256 pages

You hate to admit it.

The truth is, though, you got bored a few times this past summer. Not a lot, and not on purpose, but there were times when you found yourself with nothing to do. The good news is that there are two good newses: one, school is back in session now. And two, you can find the new book “Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Beyond the Bizarre!”

So you spent a little time this summer on your bike and that was cool, but you can’t do that all the time, right? So why not grab this “Ripley’s” book and read about the bike graveyard in China, or the first bike you could ride on land or water? Or learn about what it would take to ride a five-ton tank bike, or a 135-year-old tricycle.

You might have worked on your video game skills in the past few weeks, so the time is now to read about the woman who “married” a Tetris game and the collector who owns some 2,000 items associated with Zelda. Or maybe you’d like to read about the 13-year-old who’s a professional gamer, or the Sea of Thieves human cannonball.

Doing crafts is always a great way to spend a summer, and “Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Beyond the Bizarre!” is a good way to read about them. Find out about the “tree” made of tractors, or the 28-foot-tall robot that shoots sponge balls. Learn about digital portraits, colorful temples, butter sculptures and elaborate crochet costumes.

If you spent time with pets and wildlife while you were off, good for you! You’ll love reading about the eel-and-seal friendship and the monster mosquito found in China. Find out about crocodile teeth, shark teeth, beaver teeth and a lion with a bad toothache.

And then there are the things you saw this summer that were unique, unusual, or plain old weird. Read about more: bog bodies, paper made of “poo,” a squirrel that paints pictures, dances that scare ghosts, money made from rocks, strange jewelry, cold cities, hot games and an island for women only. How totally bizarre is that?

Remember how delicious it was when you knew something nobody else knew? You’re never too old to enjoy when that happens; with “Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Beyond the Bizarre,” your child will know that glee.

Starting this book with the basics, young readers will learn about Robert Ripley and the artwork that launched a 100-year fascination. From there, kids are treated to some old classics — things you may’ve read when you were their age — sprinkled between new jaw-droppers and OMGs that are written without sensationalism. That real-life aspect makes this book fun for your child, like taking an around-the-globe trip filled with photographs, fascinating, funny, scary stories, and locales that will open their eyes to the world.

Middle school kids will enjoy this book, as will high-schoolers who like reading about oddities, strangeness, and the ghoulish. You’ll love “Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Beyond the Bizarre,” too. It’s OK, admit it.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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