Module 11: How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg

How-They-Croaked-Bragg-Georgia-9780802798176Title: How They Croaked: The Awful Ends to the Awfully Famous

Author: Georgia Bragg

Illustrator: Kevin O’Malley

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc.

Published Date: 2011



Ever wonder how your favorite celeb from the past died? Well, here is your answer. And it’s not pretty, but it is pretty entertaining!

APA Reference:

Bragg, G. (2011). How they croaked: The awful ends to the awfully famous. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc.


I thought this was going to be gross, but I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down. The author is sassy and fun and makes festering sores and blisters fun to read about. Nice.

Professional Review:

Gr 5-9–King Tut died of malaria; Edgar Allan Poe is suspected to have had rabies. Beethoven and Galileo both met their ends due to lead poisoning. Fifteen other historical figures, including world leaders, writers, and scientists, were felled by things as mundane as pneumonia and as unpredictable as angry mobs. Each entry provides the circumstances of the person’s death and gives context to those circumstances, from discussions of the political climate to medical practices of the time. Chapters are separated by a spread of brief facts related to the individual, the demise, or the era. Lively, full-page caricatures set in decorative frames appear throughout, along with spot illustrations. Back matter includes a lengthy list of sources. The sometimes-snarky writing gives the material a casual, conversational tone that will appeal to many readers. The title alone provides an easy booktalk; expect this one to be passed around and pored over.

Danner, B. (2011). How they croaked: The awful ends to the awfully famous. School Library Journal, 57(4), 189-190.

Library Use:

Medicine has come a far way. This book tells us just how far. A good discussion about medicine, death and disease can come from reading this book.


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