From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8–Some children will already be familiar with the work of this Egyptian archaeologist from TV documentaries about his excavations along the Nile. Hawass is passionate about this work and effectively relates his enthusiasm for it in this first-person account that has the same immediacy as the televised specials. The history of the mummy's curse becomes the frame of his narrative, but the author is at his best when describing his excavations, their inherent dangers (ancient germs, crumbling rock, snakes), and the excitement of discovery. His stories of grave robbers caught millennium ago, and documented in papyrus texts, are fascinating. He also discusses his recent excavations at Giza and his discovery of multichambered tombs at Bahariya Oasis that contain hundreds of mummies. After providing readers with some history of the many myths and legends surrounding the "curse," which he attributes to novelists and "silly" Hollywood movies, he adds a few of his own stories and experiences with the "magic" of the tombs. The full-color photos are superb; they include clear close-up shots of mummies, statues, artifacts, sites, and a number of the scientist at work. There are also a few helpful cutaway diagrams. Appendixes provide tips for kids thinking about a future in archaeology, information on mummification, and useful glossaries. While the exciting title and cover will draw young readers in, it's Hawass's passion, storytellling skills, and the terrific illustrations that will keep them reading.—Daryl Grabarek
, School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 4-6. "Why do [people] want to believe that the ancient Egyptians wish to reach out over thousands of years and do us harm?" asks Hawass, the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. The answer, he argues, goes back to the opening of King Tut's tomb, when the deaths of several people associated with the discovery fueled notions of a "pharaoh's curse," propagated by journalists and Hollywood. Hawass tries to refute manifestations of the so-called curse by citing "natural explanations" or just plain coincidence. Unfortunately, the sheer quantity of eerie concurrences (as when Hawass suffered a heart attack just before announcing a major discovery) may unintentionally leave some readers more convinced than ever of the ancients' ill intentions. When not devoted to furthering his debunking agenda, Hawass' writing is passionate, informative, and kid friendly (he notes that "mummies smell awful"). Even so, what will probably most attract aspiring archeologists are the National Geographic-
quality photographs, which lend tantalizing immediacy to real-life tales from the crypt. Ample end matter concludes. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved