How They Croaked : The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous
by Bragg, Georgia; O'Malley, Kevin (ILT)

Back Up the U-Haul
King Tut
Putting the "I" in "Ides"
Julius Caesar
#1 Across
Death by Dirt
Christopher Columbus
Who Not to Marry
Henry VIII
She Kept Her Head about Her
Elizabeth I
Royal Hostage
Staying Alive
Galileo Galilei
Every Good Boy Does Fine
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
I Did Not Do It on Purpose
Marie Antoinette
Little Mouth of Horrors
George Washington
I Hate Islands
Napoleon Bonaparte
Between Those Ears
Ludwig Van Beethoven
Oh, Woe Is Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
A Tale of Two Brains
Charles Dickens
James Who?
James A. Garfield
What, Me Worry?
Charles Darwin
You Glow, Girl
Marie Curie
Einstein = Massive Cranium?
Albert Einstein
One More Thing160(2)
Further Reading And Surfing172(8)

A look at the deaths of several famous people throughout history and the circumstances surrounding those deaths.

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.

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.

*Starred Review* From George "Little Mouth of Horrors" Washington to Marie "You Glow, Girl" Curie, Bragg chronicles with ghoulish glee the chronic or fatal maladies that afflicted 19 historical figures. Nonsqueamish readers will be entranced by her riveting descriptions of King Tut's mummification (and the brutal treatment that mummy has received in modern times); the thoroughly septic "doctoring" that hastened or at least contributed to the deaths of Mozart, Napoleon, James A. Garfield, and others; the literal dissolution of Henry VIII's body ("While lying in state, it is believed that his toxic remains exploded, and some of his royal splendidness dripped out the sides of the coffin overnight"); and the outrageous fates of Einstein's brain, Galileo's fingers, and other coroners' souvenirs. The author tucks quick notes on at least marginally relevant topics, such as leeching, scurvy, presidential assassins, and mummy eyes ("If mummy eyeballs are rehydrated, they return to almost normal size"), between the chapters and closes with generous lists of nontechnical print resources on each of her subjects. O'Malley's cartoon portraits and spot art add just the right notes of humor to keep the contents from becoming too gross. Usually. Despite occasional farfetched claims-it's hard to believe that Charles Darwin puked four million times, even though he was fanatical about keeping personal health records-this all-too-informative study deserves the wild popularity it will without doubt acquire. Copyright 2011 Booklist 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)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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