Kay’s Marvellous Medicine


Did you know that Galen, Ancient Roman physician, was believed for centuries? He stated that the heart was not a muscle and  eating food would make more blood. Then again, Julius Caesar composed a recipe of ‘horse’s teeth, ground up mice and the fat from under a bear’s skin’ to treat his baldness. What’s more, in the Middle Ages (Adam Kay’s ‘Sparkle Time‘), doctors ‘advised their patients to ‘drink a nice warm cup of wee every morning’.

There are ‘gross and gruesome’ facts through every age, including in Kay’s Marvellous Medicine’ Furthermore, there are superb graphics and anecdotes from Henry Paker and the writer’s ‘Aunty Prunella‘. However, the information is so thorough, fascinating, unbelievable and brilliantly presented, that we are captivated.

This bookseller has constantly regaled the other bookseller with facts  since reading Kay’s Marvellous Medicine. What’s more, I’ve appreciated the progress made, particularly since the 20th century. From equality in medical practitioners to better hygiene, and more assured diagnoses, we are safer and more aware than at any time. Then again, we look at what we need to know further.

Bookwagon loves and recommends this title for home and classrooms, to be read alone, together, shared, enjoyed and gifted.

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Kay’s Marvellous Medicine

A Gross and Gruesome History of the Human Body

Adam Kay, illustrated by Henry Paker

(Penguin Random House)

Following bestselling Kay’s Anatomy, former doctor, Adam Kay returns to the subject in which he is trained. However, in Kay’s Marvellous Medicine, we examine further than the human body. Alongside copious research, the writer has the ‘help’ of editor Aunt Prunella, in his history of medicine. What’s more, Henry Paker’s hilarious illustrations and graphics add further entertainment!
Thereafter, we’re in for a treat! Although there are copious amounts of blood, gore and flatulence, this book is laden with jaw-dropping information! For example, did you know that ‘the word quarantine comes from quaranta– the Italian word for forty’?  It seems this term emerged from sailors arriving in Italy with the Black Death. Thereafter, the idea emerged that visitors from another country should stay inside for forty days. It seems that if no signs of the disease were evident after this period, they were safe.’ Then again, if signs of the disease appeared, they might be treated with a chicken’s plucked bottom placed on their black pustules!
However, treatments could be worse and the writer spares us little! It seems that CPR about three hundred years ago, for example, was undertaken by blowing air from a tube and bellows through….
Bookwagon LOVES and recommends Kay’s Marvellous Medicine. In fact we recommend it as ideal for reading alone, reading aloud (like this bookseller), sharing and gifting. Altogether, there is so much to share, wonder over and learn. What a tremendous title!


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