How They Croaked

October 19, 2011

How They Croaked

The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

By Georgia Bragg

Illustrated by Kevin O’Malley

ISBN #9780802798176

Ages 10-14


Death is usually not a funny subject: not one little bit. However, I’d love to have a conversation with this author. What an idea for a book and what a fascinating set of stories! This was a really funny, interesting book.

It is believed that Henry VIII’s remains exploded within his coffin while lying in state.

Doctors “treated” George Washington by draining almost 80 ounces of blood before he finally kicked the bucket.

Albert Einstein’s brain was stolen from his corpse.

I was prepared not to like this book. Snarky nonfiction usually sends me flying. But I picked it up and read the first chapter. I laughed out loud. On the King Tut chapter, this paragraph reeled me in and left me laughing, and I quickly finished the book. The ancient Egyptians believed the heart was the control center of the mind. It’s about preparing Tut’s body for the tomb.

“They didn’t take Tut’s teeth, nails, and eyeballs. They left Tut’s heart in his body because he was going to need that to think. And they left his genitals so no one would think he was Queen Tut.”

I kept laughing as I read at the allergist’s office and at lunch. Out loud. This book belongs—no begs—to be in every middle school library and in all public libraries. It’s perfect for science and history and that strange little being that middle schoolers are.


Research some of medical treatments used in the book. Then find a corresponding science discovery that would have aided the historical figure with modern day knowledge.

Here’s a good place to start looking.

National Science Standard: Influence of Engineering, Technology and Science on Society and the Natural World

Book provided by Walker & Co. for Librarians’ Choices Book Review Committee at TWU.










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