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The Book Shelf – Nov. 1
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Nov 01, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

The Book Shelf – Nov. 1

Stratford Gazette

Stupid Criminals: 150 Brainless Baddies Busted, Plus Wacky Facts, Edited by Robin Terry, 171 pages. @ SPL: J 364.1 Stu

The history of crime is riddled with true cases of incredibly stupid swindlers and careless criminals. Consider the man in Pennsylvania who opened a bank account under his real name, and tried to rob the same bank only a few minutes later!

Consider the thief who discussed detailed plans for a robbery, all of which were overheard by a 911 dispatcher because the code was accidentally pressed on his cell phone in his jeans pocket! Yet another thief left his wallet, with ID, in the apartment he was robbing … and actually returned to retrieve it. In Texas, a trespasser tried to escape from the police by crawling into a narrow drainage pipe. He quickly became stuck. In fact, he was so tightly wedged that police had to pump in air so that he didn’t suffocate. (It took 10 hours for the city’s water department to dig him out.)

When two masked men held up a pizzeria on Staten Island, they told staff to hand over “the dough.” The staff did as they were told. The men took off, not realizing that they had pizza dough instead of money.

One hundred and fifty cases of hilarious “brainless baddies” have been selected for this National Geographic Kids Book, one of the latest in the “Weird But True” series. Some truly wacky laws are also brought to light in this absorbing book. Did you know that it’s illegal to walk a pig along Miami Beach? It’s also illegal to wake up a bear in Alaska to take its picture, to bring a skunk into the state of Tennessee, and to predict the future in Yamhill, Oregon.

As Albert Einstein once said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” With its well-selected, high-interest content and eye-catching collage-style illustrations, this “Weird But True” title is sure to catch and keep the attention of reluctant as well as enthusiastic readers.

** Recommended for ages eight to 13.

Danger!, By the editors of Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 192 pages. @ SPL: J 500 Dan

With a bright red cover entitled “Danger!” and the warning, “Open with Extreme Caution!” kids are almost certain to grab this book and open it enthusiastically at breakneck speed. Then, they’re quite likely to become lost in it for a long time.

What sort of “dangerous” content is included in this absorbing 192-page children’s book? The first chapter, “Nature’s Nasties,” enters into the world of sharks and other killer animals, animals that sting or feed on human blood, “monsters” which live in the deep sea, predators, and poisonous plants. Subsequent chapters include the themes usually of great interest to kids: explosives, Frankenstein (and other frightening monsters in literature and history), medical horrors, alien encounters, biological dangers, the science behind car crashes, and other gruesome topics in medicine and other sciences, history and geography.

The colourful illustrations and the astounding information will thoroughly captivate readers as young as nine or 10 years of age (although the Dorling Kindersley website states that the book is targeted at ages 12 years and up). Danger! is a book that readers can easily pick up, put down and pick up again – although it’s doubtful that they will want to put it down even for a second.

** Recommended for ages nine and up.

– Sally Hengeveld, librarian

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