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Egyptian Diary: The Journal of Nakht

Overview

Who is plundering the tombs of ancient Memphis? A brother and sister solve the mystery in this diary full of intriguing details about daily life in Egypt 3,500 years ago.

What was it like to be an aspiring young scribe in Egypt, circa 1500 BC? Picture it through the eyes of nine-year-old Nakht, who has just moved with his family to bustling Memphis, where his father has a prestigious new job. As Nakht takes up his own (often boring) lessons, little does he know that he and his ...

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Overview

Who is plundering the tombs of ancient Memphis? A brother and sister solve the mystery in this diary full of intriguing details about daily life in Egypt 3,500 years ago.

What was it like to be an aspiring young scribe in Egypt, circa 1500 BC? Picture it through the eyes of nine-year-old Nakht, who has just moved with his family to bustling Memphis, where his father has a prestigious new job. As Nakht takes up his own (often boring) lessons, little does he know that he and his sister, Tamyt, will soon stumble upon a sinister plot involving the robbing of nearby tombs — and will actually catch the high-ranking mastermind at a banquet inside their own house! As a reward, the siblings are invited to the royal palace in Thebes to meet none other than King Hatshepsut, whom they are shocked to discover is a woman — one of few female kings in ancient Egyptian history. Brimming with lively, detailed illustrations and bolstered with endnotes, a timeline, and a glossary, this newest tale from the author of CASTLE DIARY and PIRATE DIARY is sure to stir readers' interest in one of the most fascinating eras in history.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This follow-up to Castle Diary and Pirate Diary (both also by Richard Platt) focuses on a nine-year-old Egyptian boy named Nakht who travels with his family to the bustling metropolis of Memphis. There his father can continue his own work as a scribe while training young Nakht in the craft. Nakht writes in his diary about everyday life in ancient Egypt: school struggles, squabbles with his sister Tamyt, and minor adventures and mishaps, such as the consumption of a friend's dog by a crocodile. Larger mysteries are afoot, too, such as the apprehension of a group of grave robbers and the true identity of King Hatshepsut. These plot elements are sure to draw in young readers, but the main value of the narrative is in its plentiful details about ancient Egyptian customs and culture. Parkins' broad, often humorous cartoon-like illustrations also make the historical elements more accessible. Several pages of historical notes (including a timeline) are provided at the end of the main narrative. 2005, Candlewick, Ages 9 to 12.
—Norah Piehl
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Platt's oversize, illustrated story offers a careful presentation of daily life during the reign of Pharaoh Hatshepsut (ca. 1475 B.C.E.). The central story is about young Nakht's family's move to Memphis because of his father's promotion. The journey, followed by settling into life in a big city and going to school to become a scribe, provides the boy's wide eyes with plenty of fodder for his journal. The chief subplot, involving a corrupt official and tomb robbing, supplies a hint of mystery and danger, along with the excitement of meeting the "king," whom Nakht and his sister are surprised to learn is a woman. Farming, hunting, home remodeling, feasting, and funerals are all examined through Nakht's eyes. Parkins's informative pictures include spot art as well as full-page and full-spread illustrations. Detailed scenes show women grinding flour to make bread, potters at the wheel, and even a hippopotamus hunt. The backgrounds are realistic and even beautiful while the characters-whether strongly built soldiers and workmen, lean children, or overweight overseers-display lifelike bodies with generally exaggerated facial features. Endnotes include short essays about how we know about ancient Egypt, how society was organized, and other topics, along with a time line that runs along the bottom of six pages. Bridging the gaps between nonfiction and historical fiction and between easy readers and longer novels, this title should be popular with children who have acquired a taste for the ancient world.-Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Platt takes readers back more than 1,500 years, for a look at ancient Egyptian life from the point of view of a young scribe-in-training. Delighted to leave "dusty, dull Esna" behind for the wonders of Memphis, Nakht reports in a fresh, lively voice on his trip down the Nile, his experiences at home, in school, on an unsuccessful hippo hunt and elsewhere. Parkins adds a mix of vignettes and big, brawling street scenes featuring crowds of brown, bare-chested men with shaved heads and exaggerated expressions. Ultimately, for their roles in nabbing a crew of grave robbers Nakht and his big sister Tanyt are presented to the Pharaoh Hatshepsut-a woman, to their astonishment!-and Nakht enters manhood with a side-lock shaving ceremony. Replete with details of daily life and followed by several spreads of factual commentary, plus an index and source list, this chatty, oversized narrative makes a more engaging, if less grand, visit to the past than Stephen Biesty's Egypt in Spectacular Cross-Section (Sept. 2005). (Fiction. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781406330625
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 3/28/2011
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

RICHARD PLATT has written more than forty nonfiction books for children. Ever since he first saw the leathery face of a mummy in the British museum, ancient Egypt has fascinated him. EGYPTIAN DIARY: THE JOURNAL OF NAKHT is his third book in the colorful series that includes CASTLE DIARY and the Kate Greenaway Medal winner PIRATE DIARY (both illustrated by Chris Riddell). Richard Platt lives in Kent, England.

DAVID PARKINS has illustrated numerous books for children, including WEBSTER J. DUCK, written by Martin Waddell. About EGYPTIAN DIARY, he says, "It can be difficult to make the leap of imagination from the highly stylized Egyptian paintings we see in museums to what daily life was really like. My job was to take these characters and make them believable, to give them expression and personality, and to bring their world to life." David Parkins lives in Lincoln, England.

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