Chris Nashawaty
October 22, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A book debunking urban legends sounds, at first, like a Nickelodeon expose called Santa Claus: Fact or Fiction? Sure, there are plenty of beans to be spilt…but c’mon, the fun is in buying the fraud wholesale. Still, this 480-page doorstop compendium is anything but a killjoy. In addition to such shopworn ”friend-of-a-friend” campfire tales as Mikey’s Pop Rocks demise and the baby gator that grew into a sewer-dwelling man-eater, Brunvald includes plenty of new — and, frankly, better — myths here. Sure to be instant classics are a hilarious alleged Eddie Murphy elevator incident and one in which a babysitter on LSD mistakes a tyke for a turkey and puts it in the oven. Bon appetit! A-

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