How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous
Written by Georgia Bragg, Illustrated by Kevin O'Malley
Walker & Co., 2011. 184 pages.
An appropriate warning introduces this book: "WARNING: If you don't have the guts for gore, do not read this book." Georgia Bragg follows 19 of history's most infamous people and how they died, from Cleopatra (pricked herself with a poison hairpin) to Einstein (a burst artery). The stories are wonderfully enhanced by Kevin O'Malley's Gothic style illustrations. Each chapter has bonus materials, such as info about the era or obsolete medical practices. As forewarned, this book is very gruesome. For example, it describes how Elizabeth the 1st died of pneumonia... She had pus-filled sores in her throat that popped and spread the infection to her lungs. Yum! Bragg concludes on a positive note, stressing that the way these figures lived is far more important than how they died. It's a nice choice for older kids interested in biographies or yucky business.