Illustrated by John Kelly
October 2011 by Kingfisher
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.
Plagues, Pox, and Pestilence is super fun and very informative. It's surprising how much information they fit on 48 pages. But the book never feels overloaded. The layout is similar to Eyewitness books with one main topic per page-spread with chunks/paragraphs of supplemental information spread across the page-spread. The book covers a few diseases in detail (plague, small pox, malaria) and glances over a few more. I would have been interested to see more about the diseases skimmed over, such as Ebola and HIV. I'll have to save that interest for another book. The book also addresses how far we've come in the fight against disease as well as future threats, such as antibiotic resistant tuberculosis.
The illustrations are a lot of fun. It is very colorful, and the characters are quirky. The rats and mosquitoes don't play a central role; they mostly just highlight the informational paragraphs.
My only complaint is that the book is so thin, it can easily disappear on the bookshelf, but that's the price you pay for getting the paperback. Aside from that, it's a great short informational text.