Children's LiteratureMeltzer, one of the most prolific and well-known nonfiction writers for children, has more than one hundred books to his credit. In this well-designed volume about the culture of ancient Egypt, he uses his clear style to explain this complex society to the reader without condescension. Meltzer begins with a valuable explanation of how historians and archaeologists come to their conclusions. He then discusses the importance of the Nile, the government, military, religious establishment and artistic contributions of the ancient Egyptians. There are separate chapters about mummies, hieroglyphics and women's roles, along with a timeline, bibliography, index and suggestions for further reading and research. Full-color and black-and-white photographs add interest and value for the school library. The book is so professionally done, as a matter of fact, that a reference to the ancient Israelites living in Egypt and working on the pyramids comes as a shock. To date, there is no objective historical evidence placing the ancient Hebrews in Egypt, and to include a biblical allusion in a book of history, no matter how embedded in our own culture, seems peculiar. 2001, Franklin Watts, $32.00. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Miriam Rinn
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 4-8-In a clear, direct format, Meltzer presents what we know about ancient Egypt and how we know it. He begins by explaining that the advent of agriculture allowed the creation of a social structure in the Nile valley. The well-preserved artifacts of that society have given us amazing insight into how people lived. The author touches upon such popular subjects as war, pharaohs, pyramids, making mummies, hieroglyphics, and family life. Meltzer also conveys how these ancient discoveries have contributed to contemporary knowledge, for example, plants suitable for use in medicines. The writing is concise and easy to read. Black-and-white reproductions break up the text in the short chapters. Sixteen pages of color plates make the book more visually exciting. A worthwhile, informative addition.-Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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