How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

( 5 )

Overview

Over the course of history men and women have lived and died. In fact, getting sick and dying can be a big, ugly mess-especially before the modern medical care that we all enjoy today. How They Croaked relays all the gory details of how nineteen world figures gave up the ghost. For example:

It is believed that Henry VIII's remains exploded within his coffin while lying in state.

Doctors "treated" George ...

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Overview

Over the course of history men and women have lived and died. In fact, getting sick and dying can be a big, ugly mess-especially before the modern medical care that we all enjoy today. How They Croaked relays all the gory details of how nineteen world figures gave up the ghost. For example:

It is believed that Henry VIII's remains exploded within his coffin while lying in state.

Doctors "treated" George Washington by draining almost 80 ounces of blood before he finally kicked the bucket.

Right before Beethoven wrote his last notes, doctors drilled a hole in his stomach without any pain medication.

Readers will be interested well past the final curtain, and feel lucky to live in a world with painkillers, X-rays, soap, and 911.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"O’Malley’s cartoon portraits and spot art add just the right notes of humor to keep the contents from becoming too gross. This all-too-informative study deserves the wild popularity it will without doubt acquire." – Booklist, starred review

"The most reluctant of readers will find it difficult to resist this consistently disgusting chronicle of the gruesome deaths of 19 will famous people. 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." - Kirkus

 

"Bragg holds forth on nineteen Big Names whose demises have raised eyebrows, questions, and probably a few lunches... Carried away on a swift-flowing stream of body fluids, medical ineptitude, and O’Malley’s deliciously snarky artwork, kids will agree they got exactly what they came for." – BCCB

VOYA - Bethany Martin
In this gruesomely funny volume, Bragg examines the lives and deaths of nineteen historical figures, from King Tut to Albert Einstein. Sure to appeal to middle school students, this book highlights the peculiar and gross aspects of individual deaths, such as Henry VIII exploding in his coffin, or the use of blister beetles to treat George Washington. Interesting facts about related subjects are included between the chapters. O'Malley's black and white drawings compliment the text and add humor. While generally well researched and well written, the book can, at times, perpetuate stereotypes and generalizations; for example, stating that "things were perfect" for Pocahontas before the English arrived and that the English of 1615 bathed only once a year. There are also a few factual errors, such as stating Elizabeth I and Bloody Mary were stepsisters rather than half-sisters; however, these errors are minor. Bragg has definite opinions on most of her subjects and is not afraid to share them, calling Charles Darwin "a few cards short of a full deck," and Henry VIII a "hateful, 320-pound ogre." Because of the irreverent style used through out the book, some readers may have trouble separating facts from opinion and hyperbole. Teens, however, looking to get their fill of gory, gross, and funny, will not be disappointed. It will be a popular addition in school and public library collections serving middle school students. Reviewer: Bethany Martin
Kirkus Reviews

The most reluctant of readers will find it difficult to resist this consistently disgusting chronicle of the gruesome deaths of 19 will 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)

School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—Georgia Bragg has her tongue firmly in cheek as she describes "how some of the most important people who ever lived—died" in this engaging book (Walker, 2011). Beginning with King Tut and moving chronologically through to Albert Einstein, Bragg explains in a conversational style what maladies brought 19 of the great ones down. Listeners will be clued in to Henry VIII's gluttony, George Washington's little mouth of horrors, and James Garfield's oh-so-slow death by ignorance. Narrator L.J. Ganser uses sarcasm, timing, pauses, and tone to wring out every last ounce of disgusting, gross misery from the deaths of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Christopher Columbus, Napoleon, Mozart, and others. There are humorous subtitles to each story, such as "Marie Curie: You Glow Girl!," and sidebars that add to the history. Be sure to pair this with the print version so students can giggle at Kevin O'Malley's hysterical illustrations. A perfect choice for boys who are reluctant readers.—Tricia Melgaard, formerly Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802798176
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 3/15/2011
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 309,711
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Georgia Bragg is the author of Matisse on the Loose, a middle-grade novel. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children, and two cats.

www.georgiabragg.com

Kevin O'Malley is the co-author and illustrator of the popular Miss Malarkey series, as well as the New York Times bestseller Gimme Cracked Corn and I Will Share and many other books for children. He lives in Maryland.

www.booksbyomalley.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Good grizzlyness

    Just what a teenage boy would love to read. I am ,however,a 65 year old woman who laughed and shuddered with each grizzly occurance. This would have been good fodder for the creators of"Six Feet Under."

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2011

    You should read it!

    This book is interesting for people who are curious and what to more about our world heroes.This book shows unique deaths and some you might of heard of.
    "How They Croaked" should be for People as young as about 10 years old.I also think that you could learn a lot from this book and would be a great source for a essay.
    This book is also humors and makes you keep reading.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    This book is very interesting. Even if you aren't a big fan of h

    This book is very interesting. Even if you aren't a big fan of history this book makes it seem amazing! I love this book and my teacher gave me extra credit for bringing it to school and showing her. The book talks about a lot of quirks of history you would never find in a textbook. I love How They Croaked.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2013

    Book Review Outline Book title and author: How They Croaked: The

    Book Review Outline
    Book title and author: How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg, Kevin O'Malley
    Title of review:
    Number of stars (1 to 5): 5:5

    Introduction
    How They Croaked had me sitting on the edge of my seat (and occasionally cringing.) Frankly, I had a hard time putting it down!
    Description and summary of main points
    In “How They Croaked”, read all about the interesting (and somewhat gruesome) deaths of famous people throughout the centuries. Such as why doctors drilled a large hole into Beethoven’s stomach right after he finished his Op. 130 in B-flat or how doctors “treated” George Washington by draining close to eighty ounces of blood before he finally bit the dust.
    Evaluation
    I enjoyed reading “How They Croaked” very much. The only thing I would change about it is make it longer. Hopefully there will be another one… hint, hint.
    Conclusion
    Georgia Bragg will have you feeling like you’re actually there with amazing details. I couldn’t believe that I was actually learning while reading this! It was too good!
    Your final review
    I’d one hundred percent, without a doubt, give this five stars. I would recommend this to anybody (in fact, I have.) It’s really that good. Maybe my new favorite book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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