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Voices of Ancient Egypt Paperback – January 13, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

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 Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books; Reprint edition (January 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426304005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426304002
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,180,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Did you ever wonder what would happen if you took the road less traveled by?
This was a question I often asked myself.
In 1992, I decided to head down a new highway.
I left my lovely job in education and became a children's book author.
Did I miss the children, teacher friends, Blue Cross and Blue Shield? You bet!
But I wrote every day ( well almost), collected reams of rejections, and kept sending out manuscripts
In August of 94, the first contract call came.
Now 22 books later the days flash by with writing, researching, revising, submitting, rejections (Yes, published authors still get them), email, school visits, conference presentations, and book signings.
My husband Earl encourages, edits, advises, takes pictures, helps with research , updates my website which he designed,and prints out maps to schools and bookstores.
I love meeting my readers. And I look forward to hearing from you. Visit my website at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ChristineMM TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Gorgeous watercolor illustrations of workers busy at work accompany text in prose style in this non-fiction picture book for children. The writing is eloquent and is a fresh change from the usual content of most history books. Using first-person narrative, the worker tells what their job is like. Some examples of the vocations covered are launderer, scribe, farmer, pyramid-builder, embalmer, and dancer.
There are two pages of background information about the 13 vocations, and a list of source materials at the back that is helpful for locating more resources to use when learning about life in Ancient Egypt.
I can't say enough about the beautiful illustrations by Barry Moser. The cover's illustration is exactly the type of high-quality work that lies inside the book. The background paper for the entire book looks similar to papyrus. A wonderful book! I hope that National Geographic makes this one in a series and that future book have equally high quality writing and illustrations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book and will be a great addition to classrooms and libraries, as well as to homes. Children study Egypt in sixth grade, and this book will add to their knowledge. But it is more than an informative book. It is unique in the way it is written. It is told from the point of view of different workers in Ancient Egypt--not the pharoahs we are used to hearing about, but the every-day people who made the kingdom run. And the voices are poetic and lyrical.
Kay Winters, the author, has written an excellent book and Barry Moser, the illustrator has painted beautiful pictures. The book makes me want to go to Egypt--or at least to give a piece of Egypt to the children I know. It will be a favorite Christmas gift this year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Voices Of Ancient Egypt is an extensively researched picture book that presents simple, moving poems by Kay Winters about the daily lives and jobs that Egyptian people once held, including scribe, marshman, birdnetter, weaver, goldsmith, and more. Flowing illustrations by Barry Moser and historical notes complement this excellent and fascinating National Geographic "window" into ancient times for young folks.
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By B. Luongo on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Voices of Ancient Egypt is a book for kids. The left page is filled with a water painting portraying the person who is described on the right page. It tells about different occupations in ancient Egypt, and how life might be like a person of that trade. In the back, it goes into more history of ancient Egypt, and more in depth about each job.
I like it because it's full of information, and is written in a way to help kids understand the jobs and lives of people long ago.
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By Allen Chase on August 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We liked the book a lot. It's read in 5 minutes or less, but still great pictures and beautiful book.
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