From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–What was life really like in early America? Readers are transported back to the 1700s for a bird's-eye view. On the first page, they “land” in a city in June 1770. As they stroll around, they learn that conditions were not glamorous. Animals roamed freely, so the streets were riddled with dung and garbage. In addition to the smell, they also dealt with the buzzing mosquitoes, creeping bedbugs, flies, and biting lice. As the journey continues, readers learn about the lack of hygiene and various diseases that were rampant. Side notes and illustrations explain in more detail such things as the smallpox epidemic, rotting teeth, and various remedies used to treat these ailments. The full-color art is a mixture of photographs and reproductions and serves to convince children about the realities of life in the early years of America. This enlightening book would be helpful for research and will attract browsers, although not everyone will appreciate its grossness.–Annette Herbert, F. E. Smith Elementary School, Cortland, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In this heavily illustrated book, Huey seeks to help young readers experience history through the senses of smell, feel, and taste. The bug-filled cover illustration will alert readers that the contents are indeed gross and yucky, and sensitive readers who are easily creeped out by bugs should stay away from this book. Those who like gross stuff will get a kick out of reading about the stinky living conditions, bug-infested and rotting food that people ate, the lack of dental and other personal hygiene, and other icky bits of eighteenth-century American history. The descriptions of bedbug-infested furniture and clouds of mosquitoes may set some readers scratching. If nothing else, this book should help readers appreciate refrigeration and other processes that keep our food fresh, the wonders of indoor plumbing, and even the humble toothbrush—one look at the mouth full of rotting teeth should send everyone to the bathroom to start brushing. The book includes suggestions for further reading, a list of places to visit, and useful websites. Grades 4-6. --Kat Kan