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The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle: Solving a Mystery of Ancient Egypt Hardcover – May 8, 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When King Tut's tomb was discovered in Egypt in 1922, the world was abuzz. What would be the next big, newsworthy archaeological find? Might it be Giza 7000X, a secret Egyptian tomb buried deep within the earth? Claudia Logan and Melissa Sweet (with the cooperation of The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston) answer that question and ask a few more in The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle, their truly splendid picture book for older readers. Readers follow a fictional family to Egypt in 1924 to an actual expedition led by Dr. George Reisner. Written in diary form from the perspective of young Will Hunt, who joins the expedition, the book is immediate and engaging, communicating the mystery and excitement of an archaeological dig like nothing we've seen.

Illustrated with wonderful, color-soaked paintings as well as collages of authentic documents and artifacts from the Giza 7000X site, this richly visual diary is as entertaining as it is educational. Young readers will revel in the "you are there" glimpse of an archaeological dig, learning that excavation can sometimes be as much about fleas and dust as it can be about mummies or, say, a solid gold lion's leg. Sidebars about pharoah's curses, cartouches, and heiroglyphs sit alongside enthusiastic postcards from the boy to his friends back home in Boston: "What are we doing? Picking up things hour after hour with TWEEZERS. If someone sneezes or trips--there goes 5,000 years of history down the drain." As Will lives behind the pyramids, he witnesses the discovery of a secret tomb... but whose is it? Can the team solve the mystery before Will and his parents return to America? Highly recommended. (Ages 8 and older) --Karin Snelson

From Publishers Weekly

Logan (Scruffy's Museum Adventure) uses a fictional boy hooked on ancient Egypt to guide readers through a real archeological dig in this gripping and entertaining picture book mystery. Young Will Hunt cannot wait to travel with his parents to Giza in 1924 Egypt. There, living right behind the pyramids, he is eyewitness to the discovery of a secret tomb and an excavation led by Harvard archaeologist Dr. George Reisner. The author organizes the narrative into the boy's diary entries, and postcards home from Will to his friend Sam add immediacy and humor to the events (I hope something happens or I'm 'tombed' to eternal boredom). Readers get a taste of both the painstaking day-to-day grunt work of an archeological dig and the thrill of uncovering the tomb's contents. But the real hook of the book is its central mystery: Who lies in the tomb? As the team progresses, they find strange twists: the usual burial practices have not been followed. Sweet (Ten Little Lambs, reviewed above) toggles between a visual narrative, in which she develops the relationships among the various members of the dig, and a lively presentation of information, with abundant sidebars; the author here explains everything from mummification to the tools of an archeologist's trade to ancient grave robbing. The artist's own paintings, set against a sun-baked backdrop, share space with such archival materials as period photographs, object register notations and more (the book was written in cooperation with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which exhibits reproductions of the expedition's yield). Ancient Egypt aficionados will find much to ponder here. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (May 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374323356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374323356
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 0.4 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Jimmie Lanley VINE VOICE on May 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because it is recommended on the Livingmath.net booklists. Although there's not a lot of actual math in the book, it's a great living book for touching on archaeology, critical thinking, and Ancient Egypt (specifically burial practices). I am not disappointed with my purchase.

It's laid out somewhat like a scrapbook with lots of sidebar notes, postcards, and sketches adorning the basic story's text. Plenty of other reviews have covered the story itself, so I won't go into that. What I liked about the book is that it's a view of Ancient Egypt from an early 19th century archaeologist's perspective. The modern Egyptians also play a part in the story; it's not all about the American scientists.

If you have a child who loves archaeology and solving mysteries, this book will be a winner. My daughter enjoyed coming up with her own explanations as we read through the book. Actually the mystery is not definitively solved. There are two possibilities, but the open-ended nature of the tomb's discovery is a great opportunity to practice logical thinking - does your explanation fit the facts?
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Format: Hardcover
In 1924, two years after the famous discovery of King Tut's tomb with its amazing treasures, Dr. George Reisner, a world-famous Egyptologist, is exploring an archaeological site known as Giza 7000X. Joining the dig is young Will Hunt. The conceit here is that while Will and his family are fictitious, the rest of the information about Giza 7000X is true. Reisner was the director of the Harvard University/Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and everything you see in "The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle: Solving a Mystery of Ancient Egypt" is based on the actual records of a history-making dig (diaries, object registers, photographs, and drawings) of the his expedition. Author Claudia Logan, a former museum educator and teacher, made this book with the cooperation of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
We follow Will's adventures through his journal entries and postcards back home to his friend Sam, another member of the King Tut Club. Artist Melissa Sweet's illustrations, created in acrylic and watercolor, consist of luminous paintings of the pyramids and inventive collages of authentic documents and artifacts. Throughout the book there are sidebars providing information on ancient Egypt regarding the layout of the Great Royal Cemetery at Giza, cartouches, and hieroglyphs, as well as explaining the tools and tricks of the archeological trade. From pouring over "The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle" young readers will come to appreciate the process by which archeologists unearth the past. Logan and Sweet also provide a sense of the time involved; Will saves a postcard telling about all the digging he has to do and there is a point where everyone sits around and waits for four months Dr. Reisner to return so they finally open the alabaster sarcophagus that has been found.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For our summer homeschool unit on Egypt - this book is fascinating. I have a family of boys -- the youngest is 6 - and we all enjoyed and used this book. It describes an archaeological adventure undertaken by a boy (11 years old?) and his family in 1924. (The boy is fictitious, the dig was a real event.)

The scrapbook style shows money and postage stamps, maps, brochures, and timetables. The information is broken into chunks, with letters and postcards from the boy to a friend back home carrying the plot forward. Very fine illustrations and descriptions of how a systematic archaeological dig works. Best of all: the mystery about this particular burial still persists. It's a very engaging book - problem solving, adventure, great illustrations, and a very good text.

(Book tie-in: Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science has a very good archeology book called "Archaeologists Dig For Clues")

Older children can try their hand at producing hieroglyphics in this book; younger children can copy shapes and patterns from Egyptian artifacts or even string beads in some of the colors shown in the book.

Vocabulary builders; vizier, sarcophagus, natron, amulets, jumble
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Format: Hardcover
In 1924, Dr George Reisner led an expedition to Egypt to explore the archaeological site, Giza 7000X. There, he and his team discovered a secret underground tomb belonging to Queen Hetep-heres, the mother of King Khufu who built the Great Pyramid. The tomb was carefully opened and painstakingly examined, but the contents yielded many questions and mysteries as to what happened to the queen, how she lived and died. Join fictional character, Will Hunt, as he and his family travel with Dr Reisner and participate in this amazing expedition and discovery, and maybe you can help solve the 5000-year-old puzzle..... Author, Claudia Logan, and illustrator, Melissa Sweet, have joined forces to create a fascinating and inspiring book filled with history, drama, archeaology, fun facts, trivia, anecdotes, and much, much more. Ms Logan's engaging text, told in Will Hunt's easy to read, diary entries, pulls the reader into the story and sends him/her back in time to a faraway and mysterious place, for the adventure of a lifetime. Ms Sweet's bold, busy, and captivating arwork includes original paintings combined with postcards, cartoons, collages, ancient artifacts, photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, and informational sidebars. Young and old alike will enjoy poring over and exploring the illustrations, and finding something new and exciting with each page turn. Perfect for youngsters 8-12, The 5000-Year-Old Puzzle is a creative and inventive archaeology lesson, presented in an innovative and entertaining format. So come join the expedition. The secrets of Giza 7000X are waiting to be discovered
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