From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up-This book relies on hieroglyphics, charms, paintings, and even written prayers to re-create what life was like in the land of the pyramids. Rather than attempt to summarize the entire history of Egypt, the chapters focus on personal accounts of specific people who have been dead for thousands of years. For example, in 2002 B.C., a farmer named Hekanakht was sent away from his family to fulfill ceremonial and administrative duties. Through his letters home, readers learn of his struggles to settle domestic squabbles and maintain his farm from afar. Accounts of pharaohs, warriors, and commoners are included. Much emphasis is given to the role of women. These primary-source documents create a moving and immediate picture of these ancient people. Full-color photos work well with the text, showing carvings, sculpture, and portraits of the Egyptians whose stories are told along with artifacts relating to their lives. The text is meaty; nonreaders scared off by the adult format will miss the best part-reconfiguring in their imaginations the past as its participants described it. The best use of this book may be by teachers to supplement a study unit with succinct, shared passages transcribed from the past. A fascinating volume that can't help but make readers wonder if human emotions will survive as well on paper and e-mail as these amazing messages have done in clay and stone.Cathryn A. Camper, Minneapolis Public Library
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 8^-12. This is not a supplement for middle-grade units on Egypt. Yes, it is full of information for report writers, and color pictures dot every page, but it is not traditionally organized, and the writing style is sophisticated, as is some of the material. For instance, an early chapter details an ancient papyrus letter, one that was written in 2002 B.C. A landowner, out of town during the harvest, is worried that his family is being cruel to his second wife and that a member of his household is sexually harassing her. It is also clear that he spoils his youngest child and disdains an older one. These peeks into the past make readers aware of the similarities between the people of ancient Egypt and ourselves. The book, which covers the time period from 3050 to 3030 B.C., also looks at the life of royalty, focusing on several kings, including Akhenaton and Ramses. There is information about the pyramids, mummification, religion, work and social life, and Tut's treasures as well. An interesting addition to Egyptology collections, one that puts a human face to an ancient civilization. Ilene Cooper