I'm celebrating the month of October with my own little blog series: Read Scary! We'll see if I can come up with enough scary, icky, weird, and freaky books to fill the month.
Appropriately, I'm beginning the month of scary reads with a collection of scary ends - Tracey Turner's silly, gross, and just plain weird collection of gruesome deaths, strange fates of bodies (and the pieces thereof) and last words.
The book is divided up into sections and after a brief introduction with samples of the delights to follow, we stagger right into "Squashed, Bashed, Speared and Tripped". Here we see fates from the ridiculous, like the men killed by turnips, large pieces of meat, and vending machines, to the scientifically and historically weird, like the man killed by electricity or the women strangled by their own corsets. Just in case your snickers get out of control, the next chapter is titled "Dying of Laughter" with some deadly warnings of just what laughter can do to you. Suitably sobered, we move on to "Bits and Pieces" to find out all the possible gory fates of the bits and pieces of dead bodies. We go back to weird deaths in "Fatal Food" and "Animal Encounters" then return to the afterlife; or, rather the afterdeath in "Unusual Funerals and Curious Coffins". The second half of the book includes sudden and unexpected deaths in "Died in Action", "Murders and Executions" and further gruesome fates of various bodies in "Life After Death". "Fatal Mistakes" and "Ironic Fates" present deaths which are so ridiculous and ironic they're hardly believable and the book ends, most appropriately, with "Last Words and Epitaphs."
Kindberg's illustrations are appropriately gruesome and ridiculous, with blood dripping on the edges of the pages and caricatures of everything from mummified bodies to incendiary hoop skirts.
Verdict: The perfect middle grade book for the fan of the scary and factoid. Hand this one to middle grade fans of Guiness World Records and those looking for suitably gory facts to freak out their friends.
ISBN: 9781554536443; Published February 2011 by Kids Can Press; Review copy provided by publisher through Raab Associates.