The Jewel Fish of Karnak


Far away in Ancient Egypt, Jackal and Ibis are brought before the Cat Pharaoh to be punished for stealing from the town market.  In a merciful moment, the Pharaoh decides to give the two friends one last chance: they must journey up the River Nile to the temple of Karnak and bring back something that has been taken from her ­ a beautiful and precious Jewel Fish. But she has a warning for the two:

“Do not take anything else while you are in Karnak.  And know that the ...

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Far away in Ancient Egypt, Jackal and Ibis are brought before the Cat Pharaoh to be punished for stealing from the town market.  In a merciful moment, the Pharaoh decides to give the two friends one last chance: they must journey up the River Nile to the temple of Karnak and bring back something that has been taken from her ­ a beautiful and precious Jewel Fish. But she has a warning for the two:

“Do not take anything else while you are in Karnak.  And know that the Jewel Fish is magical.  Be sure it does not get wet.”

Jackal and Ibis are not very clever and ignore the Cat Pharaoh's words, taking a few extra treasures for themselves . . . and disaster follows!

It’s up to readers to work out from the pages of the book what the Jewel  Fish looks like, then log on to, where the Cat Pharaoh and Crocodile Prince wait for their treasures to be returned. A cunning  mechanical device in the back of the book holds the final key to the puzzle.
And on the back of the book’s jacket is a poster map of ancient Egypt with facts about the actual places and mythological characters in the story.

Complete with hieroglyphics and sparkling jewels, here is a cautionary tale set amongst the wonders of an ancient world, from the bestselling and highly acclaimed author of such classics as Animalia, The Eleventh Hour and The Legend of the Golden Snail.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in ancient Egypt, Base's latest dynamic, clue-laden adventure stars two wily thieves, Jackal and Ibis; the Cat Pharaoh offers to pardon them if they steal back a jeweled fish sculpture from the Crocodile Prince. The quest, complete with a chase and more imprudent deeds, ends badly for the two. They are condemned to a lifetime of angling for the Jewel Fish that springs to life when it gets wet and goes missing. Readers can release the pair "from their endless task" by deciphering which fish among many in an underwater scene is the Jewel Fish (and by manipulating wheels embedded in the back cover to replicate the jeweled pattern on the fish's fins). Base (The Legend of the Golden Snail) doesn't disappoint his sleuthing fans, providing decodable hieroglyphic messages on painted stone tablets across the bottom of each spread. This tale packs in plenty of puzzle solving and Egyptology amid the boldly animated scenes; the illustrations' exquisite details—right down to the comical facial expressions of the bumbling thieves—tell much of the story. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—In lieu of punishment for thievery, the Cat Pharaoh orders Jackal and Ibis to bring back a stolen Jewel Fish from Karnak. She warns them to take nothing but the magical fish, and to be sure it does not get wet. Their search is successful, but the weight of the extra treasures they take causes water to flow into their coracle, soaking the Jewel Fish, which becomes alive and dives overboard. Underwater, hundreds of look-alikes befuddle the duo, who are sentenced to keep on fishing, "hoping to catch the one fish they needed from among all the glittering treasures of the Nile." The tale ends with a picture of their statues, and Base explains that they may fish forever, unless readers can help them. At this point, Cat Pharaoh directs youngsters to the author's website for help solving the movable puzzle at the back and to learn how to capture the fish. Base's illustrations, a mixture of fantastic creatures in realistic settings are, as always, superb, and Pharaoh's classic makeup is lovely. The richly textured spreads are accompanied on the bottom by aged and broken tiles of hieroglyphs, mimicking the tale above. Endpapers are perfect reproductions of grainy stone, and 17 fast-fact blocks about jewels, the felucca and coracle, and other items of the time appear on the back of the jacket.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
Kirkus Reviews

Detailed paintings accompanied by panels of hieroglyphics grace a slim plot and a perplexing puzzle.

Jackal and Ibis are two (amusingly) low-life characters in ancient Egypt. Caught stealing, they are offered the chance to avoid punishment by retrieving a jeweled fish for the Cat Pharaoh. Not surprisingly, given that they have described themselves as "poor and stupid thieves," they manage to muff this opportunity when they accidentally allow the golden fish to make contact with water—the very thing they had been warned against. Magically coming to life, the fish swims away, condemning them to spend the rest of their lives searching for it. Readers are invited to help by identifying the lost fish using a series of movable pages embedded in the back cover. Sliding each of the three circles creates fish of varying patterns. Discovering the correct pattern and reporting it to the author's website will bring an unspecified reward. As always, Base's illustrations are appealing and elaborate. An alphabetical key that accompanies the hieroglyphics provides access to additional content. Endpapers appear to be textured stone. Jackal and Ibis have expressive eyes that enhance the humor and effectively convey their emotions, while the snappish Crocodile Prince's fierce fangs seem sharp enough to pierce the page.

Base's fans will be thrilled to have another challenge to pore over. (Picture book. 7-10)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419700866
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 367,954
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Graeme Base received international acclaim for his smash hit Animalia, which has sold more than two million copies. Among his many other beloved and bestselling books are Enigma, The Eleventh Hour, The Water Hole, and The Golden Snail. He lives with his family in Melbourne, Australia.

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