Plagues, Pox, and Pestilence by Richard Platt

The pests themselves lead you on a tour of some of the most gruesome diseases throughout human history.  After reviewing the roles played by protists, bacteria, and viruses (in order of decreasing size) and their discovery with the invention of microscopes, they introduce some of the deadliest diseases known to humanity.  Learn the symptoms (truly disgusting) and travels (far and wide) of bubonic plague, small pox, various strains of flu, HIV, yellow fever, typhus, leprosy, malaria, tuberculosis, and more.  Plagues, Pox, and Pestilence (Scholastic 2011) by Richard Platt is packed with information.  Did you know that Asian warriors used early biological warfare against the city of Caffa?  They threw diseased bodies over the wall to infect the people on the other side.

Colorful illustrations by John Kelly add a dose of humor to supplement the rather disgusting and disturbing information.  Dr. Scratch (a flea), Professor Attious (a rat), Lab assistant Mozzy (a mosquito), and lab assistant Tik-Tik (a tsetse fly) serve as guides through the world of infectious disease.  My only complaint is that some of the type is too small for my bifocal eyes to read comfortably.

I’m just glad to know that we have made progress in fighting these diseases that once ravaged populations.  Keep up the good work, doctors!

Leave a Reply