Ick! Yuck! Eew!: Our Gross American History

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Product Details

Millbrook Press (Tm)
Publish Date
10.05 X 10.23 X 0.39 inches | 0.01 pounds

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About the Author

Lois Miner Huey is an archaeologist for the state of New York. She has written nonfiction articles and books for kids, many of which focus on archaeology. She lives near Albany, New York.


"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." --Booklist


"This is a colorful and entertaining look at the grosser aspects of American history. Starting in 1770, the author takes readers on an intimate tour of daily life in America. Experiencing everything first-hand, the reader will picture themselves hopping into a time machine and traveling to the past. Once there, it's an engaging look into the smells, bugs, germs, and uncomfortable fashion of the times. Colorful pictures and photographs along with fact boxes will keep readers turning the pages. The book includes an author's note, source notes, and places to visit. It will be an excellent addition to any collection!"--starred, Library Media Connection


"Huey, an archaeologist, explains just why time travel is not for the weak of stomach.

Ah, the pleasures of a quick trip back to the 18th century--when people emptied chamber pots out of windows, free-roaming animals dumped poop on city streets, clothes were seemingly designed to be uncomfortable, and baths were rare (but infestations of lice, bedbugs, flies and intestinal parasites were not). Images of bugs scuttling over period illustrations and photos of pests and artifacts add vividly evocative notes to this rousingly unappetizing survey of the time's fashions, living conditions and (lack of) sanitary practices. The author limits her purview to North American residents of European and African descent in, by and large, urban locales and doesn't always get her facts straight (yes, there are mosquito species native to Europe). She strews her already sensational narrative with superfluous, boldface insertions of 'Eew!' and 'Gross!' Still, aside from one photo of a smallpox sufferer that may cross over, she ably walks the line that separates deliciously disgusting from genuinely disturbing.

Riveting as well as enlightening, this is built on a largely sturdy historical base." --Kirkus Reviews