Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, and Murdered Through History

DAVID, Alison Matthews & . 48p. bibliog. index. Owlkids. Apr. 2019. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781771472531.
Gr 5–8—From Horrified Heads to Unlucky Legs, fashion journalist McMahon and fashion scholar David examine trends that proved to be dangerous, if not fatal: exploding celluloid hair combs, flammable pajamas, way-too-high heels, and silicosis in workers who distress blue jeans. The title and cover art accurately indicate the intensity of the gore—enough to interest older elementary readers without inducing nightmares. Occasionally illustrated skulls and line-drawn droplets of blood accompany archival images such as men picking lice from clothing, and a photo of firefighters at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. A concluding page reminds readers "Don't Blame the Victim" and speaks to worker safety, and government's role in reducing risk. The book includes "mad hatters," how green become associated with poison (thank you, arsenic), and "Radium Girls" who are buried in lead caskets. Colorful text boxes appear often, and decorative borders and lines break up blocks of text. The book also includes sources and an index.
VERDICT An engrossing choice for stout-hearted readers, whether fashion-forward or not. Suggest to fans of Georgia Bragg's How They Croaked and How They Choked.

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