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Children's LiteratureThis reference book is an all-too-rare success in showing the grand panoply of ancient and modern that is Egypt: village men in flowing cotton galabias next to buses, cars and weddings in the middle of Cairo. There is only a nod toward the brand new library of Alexandria, but there is mention of the Toskha project, President Mubarak's plan to expand population centers beyond the Nile valley. This book touches on many important details: the fact that many Egyptians identify themselves as Egyptian rather than Arab, the actual role of the imam in the mosque, the difficulties of translating Arabic into English and even quite accurate recipes for such Egyptian favorites as koushari, rice pudding and foul midammis. There are fun and amazing facts: did you know many Egyptians eat as much as three pounds of bread a day? The back pages are packed with useful and colorful information—cultural, economic and geographical maps, a timeline, fast facts, resources, glossary and index. Other countries in the second edition of this series include nations in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. 2004, Benchmark Books, Ages 10 up.