The Book Report
The Royal Diaries Series Gregory, Kristiana.
Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile. 1999. 224pp. $10.95 pbk. Scholastic,
Inc. (Books Division). 0-590-81975-5. Grades 6-9
This title, the first of The Royal Diaries Series, is a spin-off from the Dear America Series. Gregory fictionalizes Cleopatra's diaries during the transitional period between her childhood and her becoming Queen of Egypt. Palace intrigue, political alliances, and dangerous ambition threaten the security of the Egyptian throne. King Ptolemy Autletes, Pharaoh of Egypt, is a drunk who has fallen in disfavor with his subjects. Their loyalty to him is no longer guaranteed, so he flees his own country. Forced to grow up too soon because of her father's weaknesses, Cleopatra has to take on more responsibility each day. She is the stable force in the family. Her descriptions of Alexandria, the dangerous journey across the sea, the city of Rome, and the beauty of Herculaneum bring alive these ancient civilizations. Although Cleopatra's diaries seem too adult in style for one so young, the book combines history and literature to create a fascinating, historically accurate narrative. The reader learns not only about Cleopatra but also about ancient Egypt and ancient Rome. Recommended. Susie Nightingale, Library Media Specialist, Santa Fe Trail Junior High School, Olathe, Kansas