Cursed Objects: Strange but True Stories of the World’s Most Infamous Items, by J. W. Ocker, (Sept. 2020, Quirk Books), $19.99, ISBN: 9781683692362
If you have teens (and tweens) who love the creepier side of life, you have to hand them Cursed Objects. If you have fans of the podcast (and Amazon Prime show and series of books) Lore, have this book at the ready. Cursed Objects is a worldwide road trip through some of the weirdest, wackiest, allegedly objects that may or may not be cursed. Some of these treasures are well-known and infamous: the Hope Diamond and the actual Annabelle the doll are both in here, as are Robert the Doll (also featured on Lore) and . Some may be new to you, like Robert the Doll, one of the creepiest The Unlucky Mummy, who launched a thousand e-mail chain letters back in the ’90s. And some were new to me, like The Dybbuk Box, which was sold on eBay, and The Ring of Silvianus, a Roman artifact that allegedly inspired JRR Tolkien. Illustrated in two-color blue and white, each entry has a few pages dedicated to the object’s history, alleged misfortunes, and where it is today. There are callout boxes and bulleted lists throughout, making this an easy, entertaining, and absolutely fun read.
Author J.W. Ocker is the Edgar-winning author of The Rotter House and creator of OTIS: Odd Things I’ve Seen where you can read about more of his visits to oddities of culture, art, nature, and history across the world.
Real or Fake? Far-Out Fibs, Fishy Facts, and Phony Photos to Test for the Truth, by Emily Krieger, (May 2016, National Geographic Kids), $7.99, ISBN: 978-1426324055
Recommended for ages 7-12
What a fun way to get kids learning – give them the craziest stories, and show them that truth is truly stranger than fiction. Real or Fake? is loaded with news stories – some are real, some are made up, but can readers figure out which is which? Answers are explained on a following spread, and a meter icon shows readers whether the story is “Honest Abe”, “A Little White Lie”, or a “Big Ol’ Whopper”. Fun Facts are sprinkled throughout the book – did you know it’s illegal to throw away food in Seattle? – and Real or Fake flash challenges, where kids are presented with a handful of fast facts that they have to call real or bogus on, round out the book. Crazy, funny collage art punches up the fun factor in this little book that’s packed with information.
I’m going to use some of these in a trivia contest with the kids at my library. Takeaway fact from this book: The stinky smell of blue cheese and sweaty feet is caused by the same bacteria. You’ll never look at your socks the same way again, and I can’t wait to introduce that tidbit at my next Discovery Club. Unsee that, kiddos!