Ripley’s Fun “Dare to Look” Interview with TCBR
The Children’s Book Review
Published: November 1, 2013
Ripley Publishing is the publishing 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 and exciting material to fill the Believe It or Not! series of books published each year.
We got to speak to the Ripley’s team about how they strive to keep new titles interesting and fresh and their latest edition to the Dare to Look! series.
Bianca Schulze: We know the Ripley’s team thoroughly enjoys digging up facts that ordinary people would never find. How long did it take the team to put together this latest edition of Dare to Look!?
Ripley’s Publishing: It takes roughly a year and a half to research and fact check our extraordinary finds. Then our team has the super hard task of determining what goes in the book. There are so many weird and zany tales to choose from!
BS: Being the 10th edition of a bestselling series, did the team feel pressure to make sure this particular book maintains and even exceeds the expectations of its fan base?
RP: Oh yes, it’s a very delicate balance between finding new and interesting facts, that also have a Ripley’s twist to them. We strive to keep new titles interesting and fresh, not only because we want to please our fans, but we want to keep fostering their love of the extraordinary.
BS: Reluctant readers eat up the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” books. Assuming that you hear from Ripley’s fans often, what would you say has been the most rewarding feedback that you have received from a parent of a child who normally is quite reluctant to read?
RP: The most rewarding feedback we receive are stories of how these books become a part of a family activity or tradition. Parents love that their kids are not only reading, but that they want to tell everyone what they have learned, and often want their parents to share in the experience. These books become a story time tradition, and hopefully encourage kids to explore their imaginations and to read as much as possible.
BS: From extreme skiing, to the shoes with tread made of teeth (not real, thankfully), to the bug pizza, which fact or image in this edition of Dare to Look! has the Ripley’s team most excited?
RP: Kelvin Mercado, or as we call him ‘Peg Man’ placed 161 clothespins on his face in roughly 15 minutes. He has super elastic skin, but it didn’t stop the clothespins from hurting. He is one of the most interesting people to come to the Ripley headquarters, and was game enough to keep the clothespins on his face through multiple photo sessions. No one in our staff could tolerate one for even a few seconds! We hope to be able to do something with him in the future—he had a great attitude, and was really exciting to work with!
BS: Ok, which fact had you all feeling the queasiest? Or are you all hardcore and never phased by the weird and odd things that come from nature and people?
RP: Everyone has their squeamish subjects. Some of us really didn’t care for the weird food sections, others couldn’t look at pictures of the different piercings/body modifications. But isn’t that the point? We know we are doing our jobs when even our staff cringes a little!
BS: What are the readers reacting to the most?
RP: Readers can’t believe we found so MUCH. In this day and age, where the internet has desensitized us to so much, and it is so easy to find anything out, people find it unbelievable that we still fill over 200 pages with the strange and extreme.
BS: The design and layout of this series is such an important aspect due to the large and varied amounts of information you pass onto readers. Can you tell us about the process?
RP: Our creative team was looking for an inventive way to make the pages pop out. We wanted the content to be both informative and a feast for the eyes, and to encourage people to keep turning the page.
BS: In an earlier interview that we did together, you mentioned that the team often visits auctions to procure odd and extraordinary items. How do you know which auctions to attend?
RP: The team has well established feelers out in the world, so they find out about a lot of auctions through colleagues and contacts. Otherwise, it is a matter of reading the news and keeping an ear out for things like estate sales, auctions, or festivals.
BS: Is there an item in this particular edition that was discovered this way?
RP: There are so many entries in this book that come to us from Auctions or other such events. For example, the car painting by Ian Cook on pages 11 & 146, the three legged duck found on page 82, and the Oswald/Kennedy items found on pages 140-141.
BS: If you could name one emotion that the Ripley’s team collectively feels about Dare to Look, what would it be?
RP: Proud! This book is the result of a lot of hard research, careful designing and days of brainstorming. We are so proud of the results!
Read our review of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Dare to Look!.
Add this book to your collection: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Dare to Look!
For more information on Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, visit: www.ripleys.com
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