________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 29 . . . . April 1, 2011

cover

Dreadful Fates: What a Shocking Way to Go!

Tracey Turner. Illustrated by Sally Kindberg.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2011.
109 pp., hardcover, $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-644-3.

Subject Heading:
Death-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Todd Kyle.

***½ /4

   

excerpt:

It's a grim thought that we could all meet our final dreadful fate at any time. But, cheer up, it might involve a skydiving tortoise, an inflatable elephant or a flying turnip. As you're about to discover, there are some very strange ways to go, including being...
      *    engulfed by a giant wave of molasses
      *    speared by an icicle
      *    felled by a plummeting leg of lamb


A collection of very brief vignettes about the unusual ways in which people have died throughout history, Dreadful Fates starts with the grisly and giggly introduction above and never lets up. Loosely organized into thematic chapters, like "Dying of Laughter" and "Ironic Fates", each "story" often as short as one sentence exposes a shocking historical fact about the fate of an anonymous, famous, or infamous person or their dead body. From the voyages of Mozart's skull, to the repeated murder attempts on Rasputin, to people who have died slipping on banana peels, it's all here.

      While the illustrations are so simple as to be almost amateurish, the rapid-fire style of the writing is tight, recalling more a joke book or Ripley's Believe It Or Not! than a typical nonfiction book. And that is the point this is a fun, pointless, gleeful romp that young boys and reluctant readers will eat up. Libraries beware: don't let this book get lost in Dewey display it!

Highly Recommended.

Todd Kyle is the CEO of the Newmarket Public Library in Ontario and has served on the jury of a number of children's literature awards.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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