Tuesday, 1 November 2011

8+: Plague, Pox and Pestilence - John Kelly and Richard Platt

Release Date: 17/10/11


*A comprehensive history of disease and pestilence, told from the point of view of the bugs and pests that cause them. The book features case histories of specific epidemics, eyewitness' accounts from the rats, flies, ticks and creepy-crawlies who spread diseases, plus plenty of fascinating facts and figures on the biggest and worst afflictions. Illustrated throughout with brilliantly entertaining artworks and endearing characters, you'll be entertained by a cabinet war room showing the war on germs, a rogues' gallery highlighting the worst offenders, the very deadliest diseases examined under the microscope and much more.


I love a book that is vibrant, has great colours and looks, on first glance that it’s going to get the information over to the reader in a simple, easy to comprehend manner that will entertain as well as educate. Sadly this title from Kingfisher fails as on a closer examination there are a great many problems.

My first major gripe is that the images take over and detract from the text boxes (that had they been highlighted in a separate colour would have helped them to stand out) which in the long run will take the reader a great many views to make their way through and can end up with them becoming lost amongst the towers of data quite easily.

Add to this the text feels too adult orientated (almost as if it was written for the Discovery Channel) which when added to the language felt that it was aimed at an older audience than the 8 year old market which whilst interesting for me, felt that it would end up relegated to the back of a shelf by any child who received it as they will quickly lose interest.

All, this book sadly falls flat on so many levels and I suspect that had I put it together I’d have taken the approach, of looking at a great many successful books like Horrible Histories (written by Terry Deary) or the entertaining writing of Mitchell Symons which keeps the interest as well as passing the information in a fun as well as educative way without coming across as condescending. Finally add to that some diseases mentioned within could give nightmares and it’s a title that really should have been better planned.

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