I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat: History's Strangest Cures
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I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat: History's Strangest Cures

by Carlyn Beccia
     
 

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It wasn’t too long ago that people tried all sorts of things to help sick people feel better. They tried wild things like drinking a glass full of millipedes or putting some mustard on one's head.  Some of the cures worked, and some of them…well, let’s just say that millipedes, living or dead, are not meant to be

Overview

It wasn’t too long ago that people tried all sorts of things to help sick people feel better. They tried wild things like drinking a glass full of millipedes or putting some mustard on one's head.  Some of the cures worked, and some of them…well, let’s just say that millipedes, living or dead, are not meant to be ingested.

Carlyn Beccia takes readers on a colorful and funny medical mystery tour to discover that while times may have changed, many of today’s most reliable cure-alls have their roots in some very peculiar practices, and so relevant connections can be drawn from what they did then to what we do now.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Disgusting and futile medical practices are always a pleasure to contemplate. Beccia, following closely in the spirit of The Raucous Royals (2008)—dry-witted artwork, conversational text, engaging historical detective work—asks readers to guess which 'cures' may actually have helped a handful of ailments."—Kirkus Reviews

"Beccia's droll text is greatly enhanced by her witty single- and double-page illustrations, filled with humorous details. Boys will especially enjoy the ickier cures (anyone for urine drinking?), while teachers and librarians will welcome the careful research and the useful appended bibliography."—Booklist

"Digital mixed-media color illustrations and manageable blocks of text invite reluctant readers to browse this high-interest title."—School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Both children and adults are likely to be intrigued, entertained and enlightened by this book, which uses a Q&A format to discuss how people dealt with common ailments before modern medicine. Each "chapter" opens with a question and three choices; for example, asked what might cure a cough, we can choose between a) caterpillar fungus, b) frog soup, or c) cherry bark. The following three pages present each of those options and identify them each as a yes, no or maybe solution to the question. Beccia's witty illustrations do an excellent job of presenting the culture in which each of the cures was tried. The skeptical look on the face of the boy leaning over a bowl of soup with a frog staring out is typical of the good-humored touch Beccia adds to her discussion. After looking at coughs, colds, sore throats, and other common ailments, the book concludes with the still valid cure for just about anything or everything: a mother's kisses. The information about the cures is solid and clearly expressed. Beccia also includes a bibliography of references. This book is an excellent addition to both school and home libraries—or anywhere someone is looking for relief from sneezes and stomachaches. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—From chicken soup, honey, and mother's kisses to frog soup, mummy powder, and leeches, Beccia highlights some unusual cures for common illnesses that have been practiced throughout history. Organized by coughs, colds, sore throats, wounds, stomachaches, fever, headaches, and other sicknesses, the book first presents the cures and then challenges readers to guess which methods have been effective. In the ensuing pages, she describes the philosophy behind each treatment and notes its utility. While grounded in science, Beccia takes a holistic view, leading to some surprising results. Though the application of mummy powder to wounds may actually have spread more disease, bleeding may have sometimes helped by starving staph infections of iron. The "frog slime" involved in the titular cure is now used in some modern medications, and mother's kisses are an example of the beneficial power of placebos. Digital mixed-media color illustrations and manageable blocks of text invite reluctant readers to browse this high-interest title. While the figures are often awkwardly composed, their expressions as they confront each unpalatable cure are highly entertaining. In comparison, Richard Platt's Doctors Did What?! (Two-Can, 2006) covers slightly more ground through a time line approach, but the tone is sarcastic and the use of photos makes for a more appalling read. Beccia's approachable introduction is more suitable for younger readers and all those with sensitive stomachs.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Disgusting and futile medical practices are always a pleasure to contemplate. Beccia, following closely in the spirit of The Raucous Royals (2008)—dry-witted artwork, conversational text, engaging historical detective work—asks readers to guess which "cures" may actually have helped a handful of ailments. Take a nasty cough, for example: Should you take a heaping helping of caterpillar fungus, frog soup or cherry bark? Common good sense will lead readers to wag their heads no when it comes to sprinkling mummy powder on a wound or drilling a hole in your head to relieve a headache, though some counterintuitive measures will come as a surprise success: spider web for an open wound, frog slime for a sore throat, moldy bread to treat a cut. The author provides intriguing background information on the cures—where they arose, why they were thought to be efficacious—and pulls more than one gem out of the nastiness, such as the property of silver to kill bacteria, giving birth to a familiar expression: "In the Middle Ages, wealthy-born babies sucked on silver spoons to protect against plague...." (note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547225708
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/25/2010
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
595,800
Product dimensions:
11.10(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
NC1110L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author


Carlyn Beccia made her picture book debut with the captivating Who Put the B in the Ballyhoo? The idea for The Raucous Royals, her second book, came after a trip to Paris: “I went to Versailles,” she writes, “and discovered that Marie Antoinette never said her infamous line ‘Let them eat cake.’ Then I remembered also believing that Anne Boleyn had six fingers. After much digging, I discovered that one of her biographers after her death said she had an extra nail. A nail isn’t a finger. That discovery led to another rumor and then another . . .” Besides painting, drawing, and researching royalty, Carlyn enjoyssalsa dancing, horseback riding, and raucous games of badminton with her husband. She lives in Lynnfield, Massachusetts.

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