How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

HOW THEY CROAKED. written by Georgia Bragg and illustrated by Kevin O’Malley,  isn’t your typical nonfiction, in topic or in tone.

With a voice that’s frank, funny, and far lighter than its morbid topic,  Bragg delivers what’s promised in the book’s subtitle — The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous — and provides detailed, often delightfully gross stories about the way nineteen of history’s famous figures met their demises.

Included in the list are notables like King Tut, Charles Darwin,  Albert Einstein, and Christopher Columbus, whose shipboard illnesses are described in detail, along with an explanation of how everybody went to the bathroom over the side of the ship, wiped with a rope, and “got poop germs on their hands.” Kevin O’Malley’s  illustrations are perfect for the very informal tone of the text, and there are charmingly grotesque sidebars on everything from bloodletting to mummy eyeballs to scurvy, making this a perfect choice for reluctant readers.

2 Replies on “How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

  1. I just booktalked this to a third grade class this morning, and it went over great! I told parts of the stories about George Washington and Einstein, after listing most of the people the book covered, and the kids kept calling out names that they wanted me to tell about next. What a hit!