Bugged: How Insects Changed History

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Overview

There are about ten quintillion insects in the world--and some of them have affected human history in tremendous ways! For as long as humans have been on earth, we've co-existed with insects . . . for better or for worse. Once you begin to look at world history through fly-specked glasses, you begin to see the mark of these minute life forms at every turn. Beneficial bugs have built empires. Bad bugs have toppled them. Bugged is not your everyday history book. From the author and illustrator team behind ...

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Overview

There are about ten quintillion insects in the world--and some of them have affected human history in tremendous ways! For as long as humans have been on earth, we've co-existed with insects . . . for better or for worse. Once you begin to look at world history through fly-specked glasses, you begin to see the mark of these minute life forms at every turn. Beneficial bugs have built empires. Bad bugs have toppled them. Bugged is not your everyday history book. From the author and illustrator team behind kid-favorite Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up, this combination of world history, social history, natural science, epidemiology, public health, conservation, and microbiology is told with fun and informative graphics and in an irreverent voice, making this one fun-to-read book.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
A lively combination of photographs, illustrations and cartoons accompany this delightfully revolting history, which Albee and Leighton recount with plenty of zingers and an infestation of puns.
Publishers Weekly
05/19/2014
The author of Poop Happened! takes another sidewise glance at history, this time via insects. Readers will get their share of gross-out moments as Albee pays attention to insect-borne diseases throughout time, such as malaria and the Black Death. Insights into the ways bugs live harmoniously with and even help humans—for example, maggots cleaning the dead tissue cells of solders' wounds during WWI—provide intriguing contrast. Leighton's cartoons of humans and bugs amp up the humor and temper some of the more serious topics; they're joined by historical photos and illustrations. The breadth of information Albee covers speaks to the way that tugging on a tiny thread of history can yield a vast, multifaceted narrative. Ages 8–12. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

"This title is astonishing, disgusting, revolting, and ultimately fascinating, making it perfect for emerging entomologists, budding historians, reluctant readers, and gross-out junkies alike." —School Library Journal, starred review

"Tailor-made for epidemiologists-in-the-making and connoisseurs of the gross." —Kirkus Reviews

"This engrossing volume is jam-packed with enticingly gruesome world history." —Booklist

"The breadth of information Albee covers speaks to the way that tugging on a tiny thread of history can yield a vast, multifaceted narrative." —Publishers Weekly

"Will appeal to middle school readers looking for all things gross, creepy, and surprisingly true . . . The facts are presented in a way that is engaging enough to keep reluctant readers turning the pages." —Library Media Connection

"Readers who enjoy all things gross will find this foray into fecal history most appealing." —Kirkus Reviews on Poop Happened!

"By bringing history alive, this captivating work is without a doubt an essential purchase." —School Library Journal on Poop Happened!

"The lively, browsable format and irreverent tone will keep the interest of kids who ordinarily might balk at historical exploration." —BCCB on Poop Happened!

Children's Literature - Amy S. Hansen
Bugs are everywhere! We hardly ever think about them except when they bite, but this book puts them back in the history books. Albee moves quickly, covering wars, plagues and locusts (among other things) with only a few hundred words per topic. Having so many topics will allow readers to put it down comfortably and resume without having to remember a chapter or two back. But taken as a whole, this book addresses important parts of our life on the planet. We like to think we humans are in control, but Albee shows us again and again that wars were won or lost, fortunes made, and lives changed all due to bugs. And she does it with such a light-hand that you want to keep reading. Some of it is not pretty; but Albee warns us when the truly gross parts are coming up, and suggests the squeamish among us skip ahead. For some students, those markers will act as beacons, so they can go to the gross parts first. Highly recommended both for science and history. Back matter includes an extensive glossary, including an explanation of the difference between contagious and infectious. Also included is a further reading section, a list of sources and chapter notes and index. Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen; Ages 10 up.
School Library Journal
★ 04/01/2014
Gr 5–8—The shock value alone makes this worth the cover price, but once kids are pulled in, they will learn more than they bargained for about the impact of insects on human history. Insects have determined the outcomes of wars and the paths of human migrations; they have brought plagues, provided strong fabrics, and sweetened our tea. Chapters are divided topically, beginning with the basics of insect life cycles, moving on to human hygiene and beneficial insects, and then covering "bad news bugs," before tackling history from the "earliest epidemics" to current concerns in the relationship between humans and insects. This is history for those with a strong constitution, who aren't bothered by phrases such as "cockroach brain tissue," "crawling with maggots," and "bursting buboes" or by the idea of receiving 9,000 insect bites in a minute. With a green-and-purple design, reminiscent of a beetle, and black-and-white photos and cartoon illustrations, this is an attractive package full of hand-washing inducing facts. Overall, this title is astonishing, disgusting, revolting, and ultimately fascinating, making it perfect for emerging entomologists, budding historians, reluctant readers, and gross-out junkies alike.—Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-08
From the creators of Poop Happened! (2010), a swarm of bug-driven disasters suffered through the centuries. Though Albee at least makes mention of honeybees, silkworms, the parasitic wasps used for biological control, and even, provocatively if a tad off topic, a study that suggests intestinal worms make some people healthier, the focus here is on the dark side. Setting readers up for major "ick" moments, the introduction includes a disingenuous warning that squeamish readers should skip the explicit "TMI" side boxes (as if!). The chronicle proper opens with a lurid picture of our historically unhygienic ways and introductions to the four "Bad-News Bugs" most responsible for spreading microbial maladies. Successive chapters (with jocular headers: "Of Lice and Men"; "Twentieth Century Pox") detail the damage wrought by crop-devouring insects as well as the symptoms and effects of insect-borne epidemics, pandemics and tropical diseases. Along with the aforementioned TMI features, the pages are liberally endowed with side profiles of "Bug Thugs" and human notables, quick quotes and other tidbits, as well as maps, photos, period images and Leighton's lighthearted cartoon vignettes. Ominous observations toward the end that pesticide-resistant bugs and microbes are on the rise don't entirely spoil the fun. Tailor-made for epidemiologists-in-the-making and connoisseurs of the gross. (glossary, multimedia information sources, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802734228
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 4/15/2014
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 133,752
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

SARAH ALBEE is the author of Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up and dozens of books for young readers, three of which have been New York Times bestsellers. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, three kids and dog. She blogs about offbeat history topics at sarahalbeebooks.com/blog.

ROBERT LEIGHTON is the illustrator of Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up and What's Going on Down There?, as well as a puzzle-writer and New Yorker cartoonist. He lives in New York City.

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