Pharaoh's Boat

( 3 )

Overview

With poetic language and striking illustrations, Weitzman tells the story of how one of the greatest boats of ancient Egypt came to be built—and built again.

In the shadow of the Great Pyramid at Giza, the most skilled shipwrights in all of Egypt are building an enormous vessel that will transport Cheops, the mighty pharaoh, across the winding waterway and into a new world. Pharaoh’s boat will be a wonder to behold, and well prepared for the voyage ahead. But no one, not even ...

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Overview

With poetic language and striking illustrations, Weitzman tells the story of how one of the greatest boats of ancient Egypt came to be built—and built again.

In the shadow of the Great Pyramid at Giza, the most skilled shipwrights in all of Egypt are building an enormous vessel that will transport Cheops, the mighty pharaoh, across the winding waterway and into a new world. Pharaoh’s boat will be a wonder to behold, and well prepared for the voyage ahead. But no one, not even the Egyptian king himself, could have imagined just where the journey of Pharaoh’s boat would ultimately lead .s.s.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Weitzman] weaves the history, texts, mythology, and customs of ancient Egypt into an effective narrative, drawing readers in . . . The paintings’ earth tones, accentuated by bright greens and blues, are both appropriate for the subject matter and pleasing to the eye; the boat becomes more complete with each turn of the page . . . Pharaoh’s Boat offers a unique glimpse into a common activity in ordinary ancient Egyptian life (boat building) instead of being just another book about mummies and pyramids."—School Library Journal, starred review

“Weitzman . . . gracefully merges past and present as he describes the intricate steps of how the boat was first built—and rebuilt, so many thousands of years later. The flat illustrations in warm earth tones mirror ancient Egyptian reliefs; each panel shows stages of construction and tools in action. The author carefully labels every part, allowing readers to follow along as the boat is pieced together. Culminating in an expansive gatefold, the pharaoh’s boat stretches wide. Both ship and story are a mastery of precise craftsmanship.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Although Weitzman is perhaps best known for his work in black and white, the coloring in this book is as elegant as the line work, the pictures subtly using different styles to distinguish the two time periods. A map is appended; endpapers illustrating the panoply of Egyptian life will beckon readers in."—Horn Book

"Part mystery, part ancient history, this handsome book takes readers back in time . . . Skillful illustrations, many in the style of hieroglyphics, some in contemporary settings, demand attention. The typeface is small, but readers will be so intrigued it won’t deter them from this fascinating mix of archaeology and technology."—Booklist, starred review

"This will be a standout selection amid the glut of mummy books, and no self-respecting young Egypt enthusiast will want to miss it. "—Bulletin

Abby McGanney Nolan
A compelling dip into Egyptology
—The Washington Post
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Weitzman takes us back to Egypt in 2581 B.C.E. in the reign of the pharaoh Cheops. As tradition demanded, Cheops had prepared a pyramid tomb for himself and everything he might need for the afterlife. At his death, his son Djedefre, to assure his father's passage, orders the construction of two ships. We follow the building of the ships in precise detail from start to finish, watching the worker in action at each step, with every part labeled. Pits are then dug, in which all the separate parts of each boat are carefully laid. Huge blocks of stone are prepared to cover them. There the ships lie until they are discovered by accident in 1954, carefully unearthed, and reconstructed under the direction of the chief of the Restoration Department of Egyptian Antiquities with the help of Nile boat builders. The illustrations are done in the flat Egyptian style of ancient murals to depict the evolution of these complex boats. We see the various tools in action as the wood is cut, shaped, and joined. There are also fragments of murals describing some significant buildings, riverboats, and occupations of the period. The title page has a stunning image of a completed boat with a large red sun behind it to add significance. The climax is a striking double foldout of a completed boat. Weitzman's sequence of visuals from front to back end pages not only educates but clearly demonstrates concern with the esthetic quality of each scene. A map and extensive notes are included. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
When Pharaoh Cheops died 4,600 years ago, his pyramid tomb was ready for him. His son, Djedefre, who then became pharaoh, needed to build two ships to guide Cheops on his journey in the afterlife. The pieces for two boats were assembled and placed in pits at the bottom of the pyramid. Heavy stones were moved by sleds and then rolled over the pits and sealed. Hieroglyphs, underlined by text in italics, tell the story. Wood for ships came from countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Tools used by workers are illustrated and labeled. In 1954 sand and debris was removed around the pyramid and the boats uncovered. Hag Ahmed was chosen to restore one ship. "‘It was,' he often remarked, ‘like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle without having the picture on the box.'" He learned by building a model, studying tomb paintings, and working with ship builders who, today, do some things the same and some things differently. He assembled and took the ship apart five times before he got all 1,224 pieces in place. Finally, it took only three months to assemble. A fold out of the completed ship and a map of the Nile River is included. In 2008, a Japanese team proposed to restore the second ship. Those interested in Egyptology and ship building will want to read this. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6

Weitzman recounts the construction of a boat made for the Pharaoh Cheops and discusses its rediscovery and restoration in the 20th century. He weaves the history, texts, mythology, and customs of ancient Egypt into an effective narrative, drawing readers in through the processes used to build the vessel, which the Egyptians believed would guide Cheops to the afterlife. This step-by-step presentation breathes life into the history, shedding light on the motives and methods employed by the craftsmen. In addition, the author records the accomplishments of Egyptologist Ahmed Youssef Moustafa, revealing his passion and problem-solving abilities, such as visiting local boat builders in an attempt to decipher how to reconstruct the artifacts. The volume's stylized illustrations are inspired by the two-dimensional depictions from ancient Egyptian art. The paintings' earth tones, accentuated by bright greens and blues, are both appropriate for the subject matter and pleasing to the eye; the boat becomes more complete with each turn of the page. Finally, foldout pages reveal the pharaoh's boat in full restoration. Visual aids clarify the use and function of a toggle, an adze, a bow drill, etc. Pharaoh's Boat offers a unique glimpse into a common activity in ordinary ancient Egyptian life (boat building) instead of being just another book about mummies and pyramids.-Jeff Meyer, Slater Public Library, IA

Kirkus Reviews
Under the hot Egyptian sun, ancient shipwrights chopped, pounded and strained. The death of the pharaoh Cheops required two magnificent ships be built to guide him across the eternal "winding waterway" of sky. More than 4,000 years later, in 1954, an Egyptologist makes an astonishing discovery. Peering through a tiny excavation hole, he glimpses a fragment of wood-one of the pharaoh's boats. Expert restoration specialist Ahmed Youssef Moustafa is given the task of reconstructing the boat, all 1,224 pieces. Weitzman, no stranger to transportation design (A Subway for New York, 2005, etc.), gracefully merges past and present as he describes the intricate steps of how the boat was first built-and rebuilt, so many thousands of years later. The flat illustrations in warm earth tones mirror ancient Egyptian reliefs; each panel shows stages of construction and tools in action. The author carefully labels every part, allowing readers to follow along as the boat is pieced together. Culminating in an expansive gatefold, the pharaoh's boat stretches wide. Both ship and story are a mastery of precise craftsmanship. (acknowledgements, afterword, map) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547053417
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/18/2009
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 671,449
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: NC1170L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

David Weitzman is the author and illustrator of OLD IRONSIDES, POURING IRON, SUPERPOWER, and his latest, THE PHARAOH'S BOAT. He lives in the mountains of northern California.

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Customer Reviews

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