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.)
“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!
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
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)