The Children’s Book Review | November 24, 2014
Ripley Publishing, is an arm of Ripley Entertainment Inc., the owner of the internationally famous trademark Ripley’s Believe It or Not! as world authority on all that is unbelievable. The company offers up its vast archives of the strange and unusual through books, ebooks, apps, television shows, tourist attractions, motion pictures, merchandise and the worldwide syndication of its daily newspaper cartoon. Ripley researchers across the globe are busy each day digging deep into the world of the odd and bizarre to compile enough fresh an exciting material to fill the Believe It or Not! series of books published each year.
The Children’s Book Review: In this interview, we’re going to be discussing Fun Facts & Silly Stories 3, the third title in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not® successful Fun Facts and Silly Stories series. We know that the Ripley’s team thrives on digging up new and extraordinary people, objects and animals; in this latest addition to the series there are hundreds of new facts. Where in the world did the team obtain all of these crazy and odd things?
Ripley’s Team: All the members of the publishing team, and a number of other Ripley’s employees, are always on the lookout for new and exciting information that our readers will want to know. Our readers are part of the team as well—many submit suggestions that make their way into the book, too!
TCBR: The Fun Facts and Silly Stories series is a really fun way for kids to learn about the world and the extraordinary things in it. Its zippy layout, punchy headings, and color photographs really resonate with reluctant readers, too. What guidelines do the Ripley’s team follow to ensure that the content is always appropriate for its intended audience of kids ages seven through ten?
RT: Many members of the Ripley’s team are parents, aunts, and uncles, and have some idea of what is fun, yet appropriate, for kids. We also interact with teachers and librarians all over the world, who are excellent sounding boards for our content. Ultimately, if we really like a story but decide that it isn’t appropriate for Fun Facts & Silly Stories, we put it in our annual book (this year’s installment is called Reality Shock!).
TCBR: Is there a particular fact in this latest installment of the series that the Ripley’s team is most excited about?
RT: In this version of Fun Facts and Silly Stories, it’s either the story about the largest walking robot (a fire-breathing dragon named Fanny), or the idea that astronauts are two inches taller in space (due to the lack of gravity). Who wouldn’t want to be taller?
TCBR: When we spoke to the Ripley’s team last year, we learned that your readers enjoy learning about crazy animal habits. What kind of animals and weird habits will pique their interest in this third title?
RT: It was cool to see dolphins riding on the heads of humpback whales, making them oceanic hitchhikers. Also, worms are slimy enough in the United States without thinking about the four-foot versions in Australia.
TCBR: Which single fact or story are kids finding the silliest?
RT: If given a choice between losing their hair or using chicken poop to prevent baldness (which was a prescribed cure in 17th century England), most kids would probably just go without hair.
TCBR: All of the information in the book is delivered in small tidbits to appeal to the seven- to ten-year-old age group. It’s the right amount of material to get them thinking and asking questions. Do you ever get letters from your readers who want to learn more about a specific fact?
RT: While we don’t get many letters, we always welcome the opportunity to interact with our readers and give them more information. We live by the code Robert Ripley used when creating his cartoons—a willingness to provide proof and details to anyone who asks.
TCBR: The Ripley’s team does a lot or research and follow-up on articles and rumors found through the Internet. Were there any instances for Fun Facts and Silly Stories 3 where you had a great story and had to let it go because there wasn’t enough evidence to support its legitimacy?
RT: We never propose a story unless we’ve done our due diligence and know the story checks out. What’s far more likely to happen is that we find a great fact or story and discover we cannot use it because it appeared in an earlier book. Each book in the series is packed with all new stories.
TCBR: If you could name one emotion that the Ripley’s team collectively feels about Fun Facts and Silly Stories 3, what would it be?
RT: Joy! There’s nothing more fun that reading an interesting spread, and seeing a wide smile appear on the face of one of our readers as they work through the book is so satisfying.
TCBR: What should we expect to see from Ripley’s next?
RT: It’s too early to spill the beans, but we’ve got some exciting new projects coming down the pike soon!
TCBR: Before we end, is there anything extra that you really want people to know about Fun Facts and Silly Stories 3?
RT: Whether this is your first, second, or third book in this series, you will have a great time learning strange and interesting new facts!
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Read The Children’s Book Review‘s full review of Ripley’s Fun Facts & Silly Stories 3.
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