Adventures in Ancient Egypt (Good Times Travel Agency), by Linda Bailey, (2000, 48 pages), is a fantastically fun book. This is not a novel but rather a story in comic-book format, with additional information about Egypt at the bottom of each page. Often I find cartoony drawings off-putting, and cute younger sibling characters too saccharine, but in this book both these elements strike just the right note. There are several reviews posted of this book on Amazon.com. Skimming them, I was surprised that the age of the children whose parents said they enjoyed the book were mostly six or seven. There are several tricky words in the book such as “sympathetic”, but I guess the story is straightforward enough to be understood by younger kids. I think readers of all ages would enjoy this book. Lexile level is 710.
Summary from Goodreads:
Adventures in Ancient Egypt mixes fact and fiction for fast, funny and fascinating romps through the past. Kids will love the book’s contemporary comic-book look with its zany illustrations, speech balloons and guidebook. Parents and teachers will love the well-researched story lines and solid factual information. In this book, the Binkerton twins, Josh and Emma, and their little sister, Libby, stumble into the Good Times Travel Agency and take a once-in-a-lifetime trip back to Ancient Egypt!
The three kids cover a lot of ground in their short trip to Egypt. They swim and ride a boat on The Nile. They visit a school, outdoor market, and pyramid. In fact, Josh gets drafted to work on a pyramid, and the girls try to spring him.
What I Learned About Egypt
- When the king forced a bunch of laborers to work on a project, it was called a corvee. The usual time he enlisted their service was during the Inundation, when the fields are flooded and most farmers were not able to work their land.
- The ancient Egyptians believed in hundreds of different gods. (It’s hard to wrap my mind around this.)
- The ancient Egyptian alphabet had over 700 symbols!
- The “stepped” pyramids, like the one pictured from Saqquara, came before the ones with the pointy tops that we think of as the prototypical pyramids.
- Sometimes false passages were built into pyramids in an attempt to foil would-be tomb robbers.
Fun quote from Adventures in Ancient Egypt:
Special Tips For Pyramid Workers:
- Watch out for heatstroke!
- Watch out for insects!
- Don’t get sunburned!
- Avoid rope burn!
- Drink plenty of water!
- Try not to get crushed!
- Don’t fall off the pyramid!
- BE CAREFUL!
- Whew! If you make it through the day, you can collect your wages–bread, beer, onions and clothing. Enjoy!
I would definitely read another book from this series of six! This is a book I might leave in the backseat of our car, because it’s the kind of book that can be be picked up and enjoyed for a few minutes at a time.