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Great Illustrated Books

I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat: History's Strangest Cures

By Carlyn Beccia

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010
Pages : 48
Suggested Ages: 8-12
ISBN: 0547225709

If you have a cough, a cold, a sore throat, a wound, a stomachache, a fever, or a headache, perhaps you have a home remedy you swear by, whether it is tea, chicken soup, lozenges, or a good doctor. In this collection of cures that were considered effective way back when, from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century, see which ones actually worked. Arranged by ailment, each is introduced by a cover page with a set of labeled inset illustrations of three or more cures and their origins. The first page, titled "History's Strangest Cures for Coughs," asks "Did any of these cures help?" Picture A, showing five yellow caterpillars in a glass vase, is labeled "Caterpillar Fungus (Origin: Ancient China)"; B, with a frog resting on his back in a bowl, says "Frog Soup (Origin: Sixteenth-century England)"; while C shows a beaver munching on a log, labeled "Cherry Bark (Origin: Native American)".

Before turning the page, you'll want to predict which ones worked. A handsome and comic full-page illustration, done in digital mixed-media, accompanies each answer, with a paragraph explaining the use and effectiveness of each cure. For instance, caterpillar fungus, still used in traditional Chinese medicine, may boost the immune system; frog soup, made from nine frogs, didn't work; but cherry bark boiled into tea contains hydrocyanic acid, used in modern cough and cold remedies. Some of the cures are pretty icky, which will make some readers very happy. For each section, you and your children will be making educated guesses about real therapies, discussing ways your own family treats each malady, and learning some surprising facts about health and history.

Reviewed by : JF.

Themes : FOLKLORE.

If you love this book, then try:

Beccia, Carlyn. Raucous Royals: Test your Royal Wits: Crack Codes, Solve Mysteries, and Deduce Which Royal Rumors are True.Houghton Mifflin, 2008.


Cherry, Lynne, and Mark J. Plotkin. The Shaman's Apprentice: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest.Harcourt, 1998.


Jenkins, Steve. Bones: Skeletons and How They Work.Scholastic, 2010.


Seuling, Barbara. You Blink Twelve Times a Minute: And Other Freaky Facts About the Human Body. Picture Window, 2009.


Seuling, Barbara. You Can't Sneeze with Your Eyes Open and Other Freaky Facts About the Human Body.Dutton, 1986.


Seuling, Barbara. Your Skin Weighs More than Your Brain and Other Freaky Facts About Your Skin, Skeleton, and Other Body Parts.Picture Window, 2008.

Critics have said

"A whole lot of fun for those kids that really like the gross stuff for entertainment, as well as history buffs that think the methods of ancient humans are just plain interesting."
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