From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-This book presents the voices of 13 individuals in various Old Kingdom occupations, ranging from scribe to herdsman. Winters uses first-person, free-verse poems to describe the workers' duties and places in society. Her verse is rich with informative detail: "I am a washer of clothes./Brother to the crocodile,/I spend my days in water./I soak the clothes, beat them with a wooden stave,/then wrap them around a stick/to wring out the wet." The author gives voice to the birdnetter and marshman, whom other authors neglect or lump together under headings such as "Peasants." Women are represented in the occupations of farmer, dancer, and weaver. Moser provides visual context for the selections with delicately textured watercolors. Clothing, tools, and landscapes are imagined with such faithful attention to historical detail that readers will learn as much from the illustrations as from the text. The figures, rendered in warm brown hues, embody the grace and serene strength often associated with ancient Egyptian culture. Together, text and art lend dignity to each laborer's efforts, working from the assumption that stonecutters and sailors alike took pride in their contributions to Pharaoh's kingdom. A lovely browsing title, Voices also contains valuable information for students. The historical notes and bibliography will prove especially helpful for reports.Eve Ortega, Cypress Library, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Gr. 3-6, younger for reading aloud. Evocative words and an arresting design bring a long-gone civilization to life. Each two-page spread introduces an essential cog in the Egyptian wheel: a portrait of a scribe, or a pyramid builder, or a dancer, taking up almost a whole page, faces a lyrical yet sturdy first-person introduction. The scribe says, "I study day and night, / learn law, literature, and mathematics, / copy retold tales. / . . . others bear lashes to build tombs / . . . weave cloth in airless rooms, / I unlock secrets in ancient scrolls." Great care has been taken with format. The spreads are seamless; the backgrounds are the color of sand. The words, which stand out against the pages, black marks in the middle of a desert, are simply decorated by a hieroglyph that represents the worker's job. Moser's robust workers, with complexions that reflect the landscape, sometimes appear alone against the background, but they are always engaged in their work. An informative historical note offers more information about each occupation, and a bibliography is appended, but it might have been nice to learn about Moser's artistic sources. A fine choice for social studies classes, where the book can be used for reader's theater. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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