This week's Illustration Friday fits perfectly with a page from I Feel Better showing one of my favorite old fashion cures for sore throats - putting a dirty sock around your neck. Why did people believe this cure worked? That's in the book.
Unfounded Medical Claims: This is not a bedtime book. Will cause rapid brain growth in your child.
I have started to get some reviews in. Here are the ones I have so far:
Disgusting and futile medical practices are always a pleasure to contemplate. Beccia, following closely in the spirit of The Raucous Royals (2008)—dry-witted artwork, conversational text, engaging historical detective work—asks readers to guess which “cures” may actually have helped a handful of ailments. Take a nasty cough, for example: Should you take a heaping helping of caterpillar fungus, frog soup or cherry bark? Common good sense will lead readers to wag their heads no when it comes to sprinkling mummy powder on a wound or drilling a hole in your head to relieve a headache, though some counterintuitive measures will come as a surprise success: spider web for an open wound, frog slime for a sore throat, moldy bread to treat a cut. The author provides intriguing background information on the cures—where they arose, why they were thought to be efficacious—and pulls more than one gem out of the nastiness, such as the property of silver to kill bacteria, giving birth to a familiar expression: “In the Middle Ages, wealthy-born babies sucked on silver spoons to protect against plague....” (note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-9)
Author-Illustrator Beccia has gathered some of history's strangest cures for what ails you. Some of these are silly (puppy kisses), some are sticky (spider webs), some are stinky (skunk oil,) and some are sweetly sentimental (a mother's kisses) Do any of them work. You bet, and part of the fun is guessing which ones (don't you dare turn to the page where the answers are revealed). Arranged by malady (coughs, colds, fevers, etc.) each section is typically introduced by three possible cures, with wounds getting nine choices. The pages that follow reveal which cures work, why, and when and where they might have originated. Beccia's droll text is greatly enhanced by her witty single - and double-page illustrations, filled with humorous details. Boys will especially enjoy the ickier cures (anyone for urine drinking?), while teachers and librarians will welcome the careful research and the useful appended bibliography.