How They Choked: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous
illustrated by Kevin O’Malley
I loved How They Croaked and was super excited to see this book come out. When I read How They Croaked I was sad that I didn’t see all the illustrations as I listened to the audio book. But I LOVED the audio book, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this book and miss all the audio fun. But I couldn’t wait for the audio and I read it.
This is a fun, snarky collection of biographies that focus on famous people who choked when it was important or after they had done important things. From Montezuma II who couldn’t decide what to do and thus allowed all his people to be killed off thanks to his indecision to Vincent Van Gogh who ate paint and drank turpentine while in an insane asylum. These people and their stories aren’t anything new. But the way that the stories are presented are. There were many times that I chuckled out loud. And I loved being able to see the illustrations this go-round (though I still think I might need to listen to the audio eventually so I can laugh along with the narrator). I love how Bragg can get me to laugh about failures that famous people made…if only because then I realize that my failures aren’t quite as crazy or head-slapping.
Book Discussion Questions:
If you could meet one of the people highlighted in this biography, who would it be? Why?
What makes someone famous? Were these people famous because of their failures or were their failures famous because they were? Defend your answer.
What can you learn from the failures of these people/others?
What is one of your biggest failures? How can you learn from it?
What was your favorite illustration in the book? Why?
Why do you suppose each biographical sketch starts out with what looks like spilt milk?
Walker Books for Young Readers, Bloomsbury, 2014
FORMAT: Non-fiction, Biography
AGES: Elementary School, Middle School