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Tales of Ancient Egypt (Puffin Classics) Paperback – May 12, 2011
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The Puffin Classics series is a perfect marriage of the old and the new. Enjoy some of the best books from the past and find out why and how they inspired some of the best writers of the present. -- Julia Eccleshare Lovereading4Kids
About the Author
Roger Lancelyn Green was born in 1918. He loved storytelling and was fascinated by traditional fairy tales, myths and legends from around the world. As well tales from ancient Egypt, his retellings include Greek and Norse legends, plus a retelling of Robin Hood. He died in 1987.
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Top customer reviews
With that said, it did what I intended it to do. She learned and as a homeschool mom, I can't ask for much more than that.
Again and again the magical myths of Ancient Egypt proceed in an insightful methodology to include the great myths of those mysterious gods. Amen-Ra, the creator of the whole universe; of Isis, searching the waters for her slaughtered beloved husband Osiris; 'The great Queen Hatshepsut' and the 'Prince and the Sphinx'. Tales of magic start with 'The golden Lotus', but they don't end!
My grandchildren Noah, 10, and Oliver, 8, were entertained and educated on a great civilization, with an appreciation of miniature but impressive illustrations. noah enjoyed examining the map and identify locations, and the time chart. but the adventure isn't over when they reached the final page, as they got introduced to Amasis, Anubis, Hathor, and Nut.
this book is separated out into three sections: tales of the gods, tales of magic, and tales of adventure. the books begins with a prologue of the land of egypt, then moves right into the following stories:
ra and his children
isis and osiris
horus the avenger
khnemu of the nile
the great queen hatshepsut
the prince and the sphinx
the princess and the demon
the golden lotus
teta the magician
the book of thoth
se-osiris and the sealed letter
the land of the dead
the tale of the two brothers
the story of the shipwrecked sailor
the adventures of sinuhe
the peasant and the workman
the taking of joppa
the story of the greek princess
the treasure thief
the girl with the rose-red slippers
a bonus here with the puffin classics is the addition of backstory included at the end of the book. here you can learn more about the author, the gods, and so much more. what a delightful thing to include!
i have purchased most of these puffin classics editions, and will certainly look for future additions to add to my collection.
All that I can review, therefore, are the stories themselves, which is rather awkward. It's a bit like reviewing the Bible - where do you start to "critique" stories that were written thousands of years ago and which were handed down both orally and in written form for many generations? The stories are what they are. We read them not solely for the enjoyment (or lack thereof) that the stories may offer, but to understand the history and culture of our long-ago ancestors who shaped the beginnings of our civilization.
The first third of the book deals with stories of the gods, beginning with Amen-Ra, the father of all gods and his creation of the world, moving through more familiar gods such as Isis, Osiris and Horus to lesser known gods such as Khnemu and Queen Hatshepsut. These I found the least engaging of the stories as they are more like brief bios of the gods, listing their notable achievements as it were. There's not a lot of narrative development or plot building.
The latter two sections - tales of magic and tales of adventure - are more like stories as we know them - more dynamic characters interacting and intriguing against each other in ways that creates interesting, suspenseful plots which engage the reader. The stories of magic can be hard for Western readers to appreciate, as the Egyptians accepted magic as a given, much like we accept science. The concept of a "Ka" or double, for instance, is quite alien to Western readers, nor do we tend to fully comprehend the elaborate rituals and knowledge surrounding their treatment and experience of death.
Nonetheless, these stories, like all myths and legends, connect and resonate with deeper parts of ourselves which are attuned to the universal themes and archetypes in human experience. "The Book of Thoth", for instance, presents the attraction and the danger of possessing the powerful knowledge of the gods. "Se-Osiris and the Sealed Letter" is about justice and the satisfaction of defeating an enemy. "The Tale of Two Brothers" is about the love between two brothers and the power of women to corrupt that love. "The Story of the Greek Princess" is an intriguing Egyptian take on "The Iliad".
All the stories offer glimpses of Egyptian religion, government, culture, family relationships and ideas of justice and morality. As with Biblical stories, some of these views are difficult to square with Western norms and values. For instance, while there are some notable women figures - queens and goddesses - mostly women are treated as property to be bestowed as gifts of favor and/or as divisive forces who have corruptive power over men. Young readers especially need to be aware of the context of such views in the ancient world
Understanding of ancient civilizations is important for understanding our own experience in the world, as it shows us both the commonality of human experience, as well as how the world has progressed. The Egyptian empire was one of the longest lasting empires in history. Studying the best and worst of their society can help us improve our own.