Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Blog 6: How They Croaked

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

Author: Georgia Bragg & Kevin O'Malley

Publisher: Turtleback

Copyright Date: July 3, 2012

Age Range: 11 - 14 years

Lexile Level: 950

2012 International Reading Association Best Non-fiction Award
2012 ALSC ALA Notable Children’s Books List
2012 YALSA ALA Quick Picks List for Nonfiction
2011 Cybils Awards Finalist (nonfiction)

Summary: This creative and darkly humorous book describes the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 19 renowned people in history. It also explains, in many cases, what happened after their deaths. For example, Mozart was put into a body bag, doused in quicklime to decompose, and buried in an unmarked grave. After each chapter, there is an interesting fact sheet with information about the time period, the disease, etc. For Edgar Allen Poe, this included a description of tuberculosis (which his family suffered) and rabies (the disease which may have killed him).

Critique: Despite the morbid subject matter, this book is highly entertaining. The author keeps it humorous and lighthearted seemingly to not depress the reader. There are details included that one may have a hard time finding out for themselves; however, Bragg has a thorough source list in the back of the book so you can verify the information. I think older children would definitely enjoy this book because it's full of fun and interesting facts. More importantly, it is kind of gross and they will love to freak out their friends with what they learned.

Similar works: 
How They Choked: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous- Georgia Bragg & Kevin O'Malley (If you enjoyed How They Croaked, you should read the second book this team has written about the epic mistakes people have made throughout history.)

Famous Phonies: Legends, Fakes, and Frauds Who Changed History- Brianna DuMont (This is another nonfiction title that uncovers the truth behind some famous historical figures.)

Bugged: How Insects Changed History- Sarah Albee (Since you've looked at how people have changed history, you should check out this title on how some of our smallest cohabitants have altered history as well.)


  1. I enjoyed reading this book. I do agree that the older children would enjoy freaking out their friends with the things they learned in this book. Sometimes it takes the grossly humorous stuff to get some kids to read, however that's okay. I hadn't realized it won any awards so I was glad to see that.

  2. This book looks really interesting, so interesting in fact that I immediately got on my home library's web page, and put the item on hold. I don't particularly enjoy horror, but I've always been a bit fascinated by odd facts about deaths in the past. I really enjoy anything that has a historical setting.