Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

For a Younger Historian

How They Croaked:  The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg

Young Adult Nonfiction/History

This book is a behind the scenes look at the deaths of 19 famous historical figures.  Some of the interesting stories interred within were King Tut, Mozart, Napoleon, James Garfield, Henry VIII, Einstein, Galileo and Charles Darwin. Most kids will have heard of these famous names, but won't know how they died.  The only connection or theme between any of them is just their gross deaths, which does make the book jumpy and disconnected. I do question some of the research and facts and a bibliography would have been nice.  The formatting of the book was top notch--the layout, the different fonts, the trivia bars, the graphics--it all makes for a very pleasant and interesting read.

This is definitely a book for a junior historian.  Most of the information, facts and trivia were well-known to me.  However, it certainly wasn't boring!  The book was very focused on the gross-out factor with each story more weird and disgusting than the previous.  Bragg's writing style is conversational and should appeal to young reluctant readers.  There was a heavy reliance on pus and rotting flesh as the "cool factor".  I think most kids will be fascinated, especially at how very different our lives are and things that are not a big deal today was a killer back then.

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