HOW THEY CROAKED by Georgia Bragg

HOW THEY CROAKED

The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 10 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

The most reluctant of readers will find it difficult to resist this consistently disgusting chronicle of the gruesome deaths of 19 famous people. Bragg opens with King Tut, discussing in gory details the embalming and mummification processes of the ancient Egyptians. Among the many macabre details is an explanation for why mummy eye sockets look empty: "Eyeballs shrink to almost nothing during the drying process" (the author notes that if mummy eyeballs are rehydrated, they return to almost normal size). Among the other famous figures profiled are Henry VIII, whose corpse exploded in its coffin while lying in state; George Washington, who was drained of 80 ounces of his blood by doctors before dying; and Marie Curie, who did herself in with constant radiation exposure. The accounts of how ill or injured people were treated by doctors through the 19th century reveal that medical practices were usually more lethal than the maladies. Between each chapter, there is a page or two of related and gleefully gross facts. Bragg's informal, conversational style and O'Malley's cartoon illustrations complement the flippant approach to the subject; the energetically icky design includes little skulls and crossbones to contain page numbers. Engaging, informative and downright disgusting. (sources, further reading, websites, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8027-9817-6
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2011




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