Ick! Yuck! Eew!

Our Gross American History

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 6
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

Kids study US history, but do they know what life long ago was really like? The past was full of yuckiness. The sounds, smells, filth, bugs, rats, poor hygiene, lack of dental and medical care, and bad food are not portrayed at today’s historic sites, in movies, or in most books about US history. Yet this kind of stuff appeals greatly to kids. The purpose of this book is to de-sanitize the past, present it as it actually was, and help kids come to an understanding of how people put up with it—or didn’t even notice.

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Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 6
Reading Level Grade 5
Genre Social Studies
Copyright 2014
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Number of Pages 48
Publication Date 2014-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 5.6
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS JNF025200, JNF025190, JNF024060
Dewey 973
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.75 x 9.75
Lexile 860
ATOS Reading Level 5.3
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 160641
Accelerated Reader® Points 1.0
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Reviewed, Starred Reviews, and Table of contents

Author: Lois Miner Huey

Lois Miner Huey is an archaeologist for the state of New York. She has written nonfiction articles and books for kids, many of which focus on archaeology. She lives near Albany, New York.


  • South Carolina Book Award Nominee, Nominated, 2015
  • Cream of the Crop for Children's and Young Adult Literature, Winner, 2014
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2014
  • New York Public Library Best Books for Kids, Winner, 2013


Library Media Connection

This is a colorful and entertaining look at the grosser aspects of American history. . . . It will be an excellent addition to any collection!"—starred, Library Media Connection


“Those who like gross stuff will get a kick out of reading about the stinky living conditions, bug-infested and rotting food that people ate, the lack of dental and other personal hygiene, and other icky bits of eighteenth-century American history.” —Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“Images of bugs scuttling over period illustrations and photos of pests and artifacts add vividly evocative notes to this rousingly unappetizing survey of the time’s fashions, living conditions and (lack of) sanitary practices….Riveting as well as enlightening.” —Kirkus Reviews