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They Lost Their Heads!: What Happened to Washington's Teeth, Einstein's Brain, and Other Famous Body Parts
Contributor(s): Beccia, Carlyn Cerniglia
ISBN: 0802737455     ISBN-13: 9780802737458
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
    OUR PRICE: $17.09  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: April 2018
Annotation: "From the kidnapping of Einstein's brain to the horrifying end of Louis XIV's heart, the mysteries surrounding some of history's most famous body parts range from medical to macabre. Carlyn Beccia explores the misadventures of noteworthy body parts through history and uses them as springboards for exploring topics such as forensics, DNA testing, brain science, organ donation, and cloning. The engaging, conversational tone of the text, the wonderfully creepy subject matter, and the delightfully detailed art are sure to capture even the most reluctant readers. The famous people and their body parts include: Galileo Galilei / Fingers Louis XIV / Heart George Washington / Teeth Franz Hayden / Head Beethoven / Hair Abraham Lincoln / Body Cheng and Eng Bunker / Liver Phineas Gage / Skull John Wilkes Booth / Neck vertebrae Vincent Van Gogh / Ear Sarah Bernhardt / Leg Mata Hari / Head Albert Einstein / Brain Elvis Presley / Wart Thomas Edison / Last Breath"--
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Celebrities; Anecdotes; Juvenile literature.
Human body; Anecdotes; Juvenile literature.
JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Historical.; bisacsh
Dewey: 920.02
LCCN: 2017024255
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 11.00" H x 7.75" W x 1.25" (1.70 lbs) 182 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s):

Carlyn Beccia (pronounced Betcha) is an author, illustrator, graphic designer, and organ donor who (so far) has kept all her body parts. Beccia's children's books, including Who Put the B In the Ballyhoo?, Raucous Royals, and I Feel Better with a Frog In My Throat, have won numerous awards including the Golden Kite Honor, the International Reading Association's Children's and Young Adult Book Award, and the Cybil Award.
@carlynbeccia (Instagram)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2018 March #1)

In this quirky, clever compendium, Beccia (Fashion Rebels) digs through history to unearth stories about the posthumous fates of notorious individuals' body parts. These include Galileo's fingers, vertebra, and a molar, purloined by men tasked with moving his body to a more prestigious spot a century after his death; Franz Joseph Haydn's head, swiped from his newly interred coffin for scientists to study; Sarah Bernhardt's leg, amputated after an onstage fall and preserved in a French medical school's storage room; and Thomas Alva Edison's literal last breath, captured in a vial and sent to the inventor's closest friend, Henry Ford. The author's chatty, irreverent narrative profiles each highlighted luminary and offers supplementary info on such topics as embalming, phrenology, and cryonics—and ample doses of downright creepy, kid-pleasing trivia. Footnotes contain some factual clarification, but largely provide off-the-cuff commentary that will further engage readers (comparing John Wilkes Booth to a "Hollywood A-lister" of today, Beccia adds, via footnote, "Ryan Gosling also happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to Booth"). Etching-like period illustrations echo the macabre underpinnings of the text and its playfully subversive tone. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2018 March)

Gr 5–8—These tales of the bizarre and ghoulish "afterlives" of body parts include Galileo's fingers, George Washington's teeth, Lincoln's much-moved body, and other fleshly bits and pieces from actors, musicians, and artists. The book has 17 six-page chapters about wandering body parts, each concluding with a "Where are they now?" sidebar that provides their current locations. Chapters are followed by sections that offer information about related topics such as historical burial traditions and practices, the value of bodies for research, and advances in forensic and pathological science. This topic is one that has perpetual appeal to middle school readers, but the writing and presentation are flawed. Beccia is overly flippant: "The human teeth were sometimes George's own teeth or sometimes teeth he bought from his slaves. I know…pretty gross." Also, her attempts at humor frequently fall flat. The overuse of footnotes, which are a strange mix of additional information and jokes or asides where the author interjects information about herself or her opinions ("Well, duh") or her willingness to "totally" wear Nefertiti's headdress, will likely distract readers. Illustrations are simplistic black-and-white cartoons, many intended to be comical. This book is not as well written or compelling as Georgia Bragg's How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous. VERDICT An additional choice where gross-out books are very popular.—Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.