By Tracey Turner, Kids Can Press, $14.95, 112 pages

10There has always been a fascination with strange and unusual deaths. In 1989 in East London, a man died after being hit by a turnip thrown from a passing car! In 1995, six people in Egypt drowned trying to rescue a chicken from a well, while the chicken survived. Tracey Turner’s Dreadful Fates: What a Shocking Way to Go! takes readers on a gruesome tour of the world’s most interesting deaths.

Turner divides the book into chapters like Fatal Food, Unusual Funerals and Curious Coffins, and Fatal Mistakes. Along the way, Sally Kindberg’s illustrations add detail and humor to the bizarre tales.

Readers will recognize the fateful stories of famous historical figures like magician Harry Houdini, who died from a punch in the stomach after boasting that he could withstand any blow. He didn’t have time to prepare for the sudden punch and it caused his appendix to fatally rupture. Turner also includes funny last words and epitaphs. “Here lies the body of Margaret Bent. She kicked up her heels and away she went.” Readers will find this book fascinating. Laughter is inevitable, but make sure you don’t laugh yourself to death – it’s happened!

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin