From the Publisher
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
Part of the Scholastic "Royal Diaries" series, Cleopatra writes of the snake that nearly killed her father, sending him into hiding. Her sister has taken over the throne of Egypt and Cleopatra now also fears for her own life. With the help of friends, Cleopatra travels with her father to Rome, seeking help reclaiming the throne. When she meets Caesar, Cicero, and Marc Antony, Cleopatra's gift for foreign languages and her growing diplomatic skills come in handy. Two years later, when Cleopatra and her father return to Egypt, she is a young woman--prepared to rule Egypt more effectively than her father or her sisters. The writing is lively. Vivid description allows the reader to smell the streets of Rome, feel Cleopatra's homesickness, and be inspired by her indomitable strength. Unlike a real diary, historical details are explained--though without slowing the story. Historical notes, photographs, and a family tree provide further details. Genre: Historical Fiction. 1999, Scholastic, Ages 9 to 12, $10.95. Reviewer: Lisa A Wroble
Children's Literature - Julie Steinberg
It is 57 BC and Cleopatra, the twelve-year-old Egyptian princess, is terrified. Her father, King Ptolemy Auletes, was forced into hiding after a deadly snake meant for him bit a servant instead. Taking her cue from ancient Queens Sheba, Esther, and Nefertiti, Cleopatra vows to act in a manner befitting a future ruler of Egypt. Cleopatra's diary is an engrossing account of her escape by boat to Rome, where she and her father must plead for help; her culture shock as she learns the ways of a "barbarian" civilization; her diplomatic skills as she meets General Pompey, Marc Antony, and Cicero; and her tumultuous return to Egypt, where her evil older sister has seized power. Rich details of food, housing, climate, and culture bring the reader the heart of ancient Egypt and Rome. An epilogue briefly describes Cleopatra's liaison with Julius Caesar, Caesar's assassination, Cleopatra's marriage to Antony, and their deaths. A helpful section with historical notes, maps, portraits, a family tree, and illustrations provides the perfect context for the amazing story. The book is part of the "Royal Diaries" series, created by the editors of the "Dear America" series.
Through compelling journal entries, this entry in The Royal Diaries series takes readers back to a time in ancient Egypt when Cleopatra was a 12-year-old princess, traveling to Rome to meet the likes of Caesar, Cicero, and Marc Antony for the first time. Gregory imagines how the intelligent, literate princess might record events both large and small, proposing that even at such a young age, Cleopatra struggled to learn diplomacy. The attention to detail draws readers headlong into ancient Egypt, describing with immediacy and vigor the spices, views, tastes, and smells that a young Cleopatra may have encountered. An epilogue, family tree, historical notes, and numerous black-and-white illustrations fill in the rest of her story. (Fiction. 8-12)