Monday, January 17, 2011

I Feel Better With a Frog in My Throat: History’s Strangest Cures by Carlyn Beccia


Book Overview: 
What do earthworms, maggots, and spider webs have in common?  They were all used at one time to cure health ailments! 

The title page instructions of I Feel Better With a Frog in My Throat: History’s Strangest Cures  lightheartedly warns:  “Some cures in this book are gross.  Please don’t eat lunch while reading.”  Common western remedies from the ancient world to the modern one are highlighted.  This book is not for the squeamish!  It is well-researched and fascinating though. 

The book is organized into eight sections—cough, cold, sore throat, wounds, stomachache, fever, headache, and every sickness.  As a new section begins, the same question is asked:  “Did any of these cures help?”  Then, there are usually three options offered and labeled with an A, B, and C. For each cure, a picture, the name, and the origin are provided.  Readers (or listeners) can guess which one or ones they think actually worked on patients.  Each of the next few pages is devoted to one of the cures with a vivid picture and a short fascinating paragraph explaining how it was administered, if it worked, and why it did or did not work.   
Evaluation:
I Feel Better With a Frog in My Throat:  History’s Strangest Cures (Carlyn Beccia) is a non-fiction title that is sure to give young and old the shivers and the heebee jeebees!   It is also highly engaging and fascinating.   My reluctant learner loved it!  If I tried to skip over anything to focus on the most important information, she requested I read it.  Both kids enjoyed predicting which cures actually worked and learning when they were correct.  Because the methods are often unpleasant and even a bit unsettling, I would recommend this selection for older children (ages 8 and up). 

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