A Place in the Sun

A Place in the Sun

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by Jill Rubalcaba
     
 

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When Senmut, a young stone sculptor, is exiled for life to the gold mines of Nubia, he must count on all his skills in order to survive. A novel of bristling intrigue, set against the dramatic historical backdrop of 13th century b.c. Egypt.  See more details below

Overview

When Senmut, a young stone sculptor, is exiled for life to the gold mines of Nubia, he must count on all his skills in order to survive. A novel of bristling intrigue, set against the dramatic historical backdrop of 13th century b.c. Egypt.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Melinda Medley Sprinkle
Senmut is a nine-year-old boy who lives with his family in the city of Thebes along the Nile River. He looks up to his father and longs to follow in his footsteps and become a master sculptor. When a cobra unexpectedly bites his father, Senmut begins sculpting a god to help heal and protect his father from death. But, when the chisel accidentally slips from his hands and kills a sacred peace dove, he is charged as an adult and is sentenced to a life of hardship working in the mines from which no one returns. Tormented and distraught, Senmut learns to survive. Rubalcaba's fascination for Egyptian culture seeps through. This novel could be used by teachers in many ways, including a comparison of the roles of leaders then and now (pharaohs/presidents). Includes a map and glossary.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6When his sculptor father is bitten by a cobra, Senmut believes that if he can carve a statue of the healer-goddess Sekhmet that will please her, she will help save Yuf. But as the boy works, he carelessly throws aside a tool, accidentally killing a dove. This thoughtless act, in the ancient Egypt Rubalcaba has re-created, means a death sentence for Senmut, unless the gods intercede on his behalf. They do, and instead of a quick death, the boy is sentenced to work in the mines, which will lead, he knows, to a slower, but no-less-sure, demise. How the protagonist escapes this fate and, by virtue of his talent and some good luck, survives to become Royal Sculptor to the Pharaoh, makes for an exciting and information-filled adventure. The details of daily life, customs, and beliefs of the people are wonderfully revealed through the words and deeds of the characters. The story has enough excitement to capture the interest of most reluctant readers. While several of the events rely on coincidence, careful plotting and foreshadowing prepare readers for some of the ensuing action. The prologue, for example, is told from the cobra's perspective and cleverly sets the stage for what follows. The places and objects are so well described that they can be easily visualized by children unfamiliar with Egyptian artifacts. A substantial glossary helps to identify and explain unfamiliar terms. A fine story for enjoyment or as curriculum support for units on ancient Egypt.Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
The fortunes of a stonecutter's son take drastic turns in this novella from Rubalcaba (Saint Vitus' Dance, 1996), set 3,300 years ago in the Egypt of Ramses II. Nine-year-old Senmut's happiness comes to an abrupt end when a cobra bite takes his father to death's door, and when he accidentally commits an act of sacrilege by killing a dove. Banished to the deadly gold mines of Nubia, Senmut still contrives to carve an amulet in the image of Sekhmet, goddess of illness, in hopes of saving his father. So fine is the work that the overseer sends it and Senmut back to plague-ridden Thebes, where Merneptah, the Pharaoh's son, lies stricken with smallpox. There Senmut hears that his father is alive; when Merneptah recovers, too, the joyful Ramses rewards Senmut with a court position. Rubalcaba compensates, at least partly, for the sketchy, conventional plot with a protagonist who is both clever and genuinely childlike, along with plenty of carefully articulated details of ancient Egyptian life.

From the Publisher
"The details of daily life, customs, and beliefs of the people are wonderfully revealed through the words and deeds of the characters.. . . . A substantial glossary helps to identify and explain unfamiliar terms. A fine story for enjoyment or as curriculum support for units on ancient Egypt." School Library Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547349992
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/14/1997
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
96
File size:
159 KB
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Jill Rubalcaba, author of A PLACE IN THE SUN, UNCEGILA'S SEVENTH SPOT, and ST. VITUS' DANCE, lives in Haddam, Connecticut.

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