Review: Plague Busters! by Lindsey Fitzharris and Adrian Teal

Plague-Busters by Lindsey Fitzharris and Adrian Teal

Plague-Busters!: Medicine’s Battles with History’s Deadliest Diseases
Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris
Illustrated by Adrian Teal
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published October 10, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Plague-Busters!

Smallpox! Rabies! Black Death! Throughout history humankind has been plagued by . . . well, by plagues. The symptoms of these diseases were gruesome-but the remedies were even worse.

Get to know the ickiest illnesses that have infected humans and affected civilizations through the ages. Each chapter explores the story of a disease, including the scary symptoms, kooky cures, and brilliant breakthroughs that it spawned. Medical historian and bestselling author Lindsey Fitzharris lays out the facts with her trademark wit, and Adrian Teal adds humor with cartoons and caricatures drawn in pitch black and blood red. Diseases covered in this book include bubonic plague, smallpox, rabies, tuberculosis, cholera, and scurvy.

Thanks to centuries of sickness and a host of history’s most determined plague-busters, this riveting book features everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the world’s deadliest diseases.

Plague-Busters on Goodreads

My Review

This book is filled with deeply fascinating information. From stories about the history of medical treatments for various illnesses to the development of hospitals and sanitary conditions, the text introduces readers to so many ways the medical field has changed. And some ways in which it’s still the same. We continually discover new treatments and uncover problems with previously established methods. We also continue to encounter new diseases.

I loved learning about the different medical issues represented in the book. From cholera to rabies, the plague, and smallpox, the book takes a close look at several diseases that had a huge impact on human history.

I was surprised that the book didn’t cover the influenza pandemic of 1918, which reportedly killed between 50 and 100 million people. It also didn’t mention the AIDS virus, which continues to have a huge impact on our population and has had a lot of medical breakthroughs since the disease was first discovered.

All in all, though, I enjoyed the upbeat tone and clear way the information in the book was presented. It made me think about a lot of things, and I think young readers interested in medical history and the history of diseases will find this book to be a deeply fascinating introduction to several major illnesses.

Plague-Busters on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 10 up.

The text primarily focuses on pandemics and plagues in Europe, though other places are mentioned. Most of the medical professionals mentioned, or advancements covered are from Europe.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
One reference to a swear word, all but the first and last letter replaced with symbols. It’s from a quote of Doc Holliday’s last words.

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
References to churches and church leaders impacted by illnesses. Sometimes, church members gathered to repent in hopes of ending the outbreak of disease they believed was God’s judgment against their sins. References to monks caring for the sick.

Violent Content
Lots of descriptions of disease and fatalities due to disease. In one chapter, medical students arrange for the death of a doctor who tried to enforce a new policy requiring them to wash their hands before encountering pregnant patients.

Drug Content
Some of the early “treatments” for different illnesses we now know are poisonous (like mercury) or highly addictive (such as opiates).

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of PLAGUE-BUSTERS! in exchange for my honest review.

Marvelous Middle-Grade Mondays with Greg Pattridge at Always in the Middle

Marvelous Middle-Grade Mondays

Iโ€™m sharing this post as a part of a weekly round-up of middle grade posts called Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays. Check out other blogs posting about middle-grade books today on Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays at Always in the Middle with Greg Pattridge.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

6 Responses to Review: Plague Busters! by Lindsey Fitzharris and Adrian Teal

  1. This looks interesting, but I wish the cover weren’t quite as cartoony. I already have Hopkinson’s The Deadliest Diseases Then and Now, but may have to take a look at this title as well.

    • Kasey says:

      I was a little surprised by the cover, too. The tone of the book is a little playful and upbeat, so maybe that’s why? I haven’t heard of the other title, but I would like to check that one out, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Valinora Troy says:

    Sounds a very interesting and information read, thanks for sharing! By the way, I think scientists consider 1918 to be caused by a number of factors, including bacterial pneumonia (though Spanish flu lives on in popular culture!), maybe that was why the author left it out?

  3. A very informative and thorough review. I know quite a few young readers who would enjoy learning about diseases beyond the current ones. Thanks for posting as a part of MMGM this week.

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