Monday, August 20, 2018

The Secrets of Tutankhamun: Egypt's Boy King and His Incredible Tomb

Patricia Cleveland-Peck, illustrated by Isabel Greenberg.
The Secrets of Tutankhamun: Egypt's Boy King and His Incredible Tomb
August 21st 2018 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
ARC provided by the publisher

This large format picture book is more reminiscent of Motel of the Mysteries in its vocabulary, content and writing  style. It is part biography of Tutankhamun, with excellent information about the background of the Egyptian royal family at the time and explanations of how succession and intermarriages played into the political climate. There is a chapter about the process of mummification that would be very helpful to have at hand wile reading the first chapter of Rubalcaba's The Wadget Eye that includes information about funeral processions and tombs as well. The last part of the book gives detailed information about Carter's dig that is almost as complete as Schlitz's The Hero Schliemann. I especially liked that the various incidences  of people affected by the "curse" of the tomb are discussed, but the author acknowledges that there were many more people involved with the dig who suffered no ill-effects.

We certainly don't want to encourage young readers to go into archaeology (I have any number of friends with masters' degrees or PhD in the field, many from very prestigious colleges and universities; none of them are working in the field. Most are librarians, actually), but Egypt, Rome and Greece are covered in the middle school curriculum, so the information about the digs of the past is very useful.

The format of this is very attractive, with lots of helpful illustrations arranged on pages to help explain some of the concepts-- shabtis, barges, hieroglyphics, and dig sites will all help students have a better idea about what the artifacts looked like. Some of the illustrations were in color; I can't quite determine how much of the finished book will be.

This is a good addition to a middle school collection that includes Rubalcaba's Digging for Troy even if some students will be reluctant to check it out because it looks like a book for younger students. They can be assured that it is really quite informative and helpful!

Ms. Yingling

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