Monday, July 14, 2014

How They Choked by Georgia Bragg

For Middle Grade Monday I am taking a look at a fun book that was released by Walker Books for Young Readers just this May. The title says is all, How They Choked- Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg and illustrated by Kevin O'Malley.

The Story-
This is a book of belly flops and mistakes. Divided into 14 chapters, children will read the real life tales of 14 famous people such as Marco Polo, Anne Boleyn, Issac Newton, Vincent Van Gogh and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Each story takes a unique look at the famous person and includes the incidents that caused them to fail or how their failures brought success.

My Thoughts-
History tends to look at the best sides of a person, this book takes the opposite approach. It's main purpose is to let children realize that real people make mistakes and that that you shouldn't idolize anyone before you know their true story. The author does achieves this goal with 14 real life tales, which include bits of his own humor, about famous people and their flubs.

For example, did you know that if Marco Polo hadn't failed as a Naval Captain and ended up in prison, that his story would never had been told, because it was his cell mate that wrote all his adventures down? Did you know that Montezuma II was so superstitious that he handed over his own people to the Spanish Conquistador Cortes?

These are great tales that children will eat up. It is a fun way to expose kids to history and allow them to see that there is so much to learn out there, and it's not boring at all! A small heads up, several of the people included died in horrible ways or were horrible tyrants. Also, some of the author's humor made me grimace, but kids probably won't care. 4.5 Stars!


  1. The cover alone will have kids picking this one up. Very interesting idea. You have me intrigued enough to search this title out. Thanks for your review.

  2. This sound intriguing! My kids have a book called, MISTAKES THAT WORKED, which sounds similar. I think my younger son would love this--and it'd be a great way to get him more interested in history.

  3. I really think kids will enjoy this one. In fact, I just handed it to a neighbor kid and they sat right down and started reading it.

  4. I'm going to have to get hold of this one. My grandkids (and I) will enjoy it. Thanks for telling me about it.