Secrets in Stone: All about Maya Hieroglyphs

Secrets in Stone: All about Maya Hieroglyphs

by Laurie Coulter, Sarah Jane English
     
 
Until about forty years ago, the ancient Maya hieroglyphics and the world they described remained virtually indecipherable. Now Secrets in Stone takes readers into the world of the ancient Maya code and explains how it was deciphered and what it all means. Not only is this the first book on the subject for children, this book also comes with its very own UV-raised

Overview

Until about forty years ago, the ancient Maya hieroglyphics and the world they described remained virtually indecipherable. Now Secrets in Stone takes readers into the world of the ancient Maya code and explains how it was deciphered and what it all means. Not only is this the first book on the subject for children, this book also comes with its very own UV-raised "Glyphmaster," which allows budding archaeologists to create glyph rubbings, just like real archaeologists, Ancient Egyptians hueroglyphics have long captivated the interest of children. Now, inquisitive minds will relish developing their own secret codes and messages with over fifty Maya hieroglyphs.

Author Biography: Laurie Coulter is very experienced at writing about historical subjects for young readers. She is the coauthor of 882 1/2 Amazing Answers to Your Questions About the Titanic. This is her first book for Little, Brown. Sarah Jane English has worked as an illustrator for ten years. Her stunning illustrations have appeared in many children's books, as well as in advertisements and magazines.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In 1839, an American lawyer and an English illustrator began a trek into the Central American jungle based on rumors of ancient, ruined cities. When John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood later wrote a book about their discoveries, linguists immediately began studying the language of this lost civilization. Setting the stage thusly, Coulter takes her readers on a story of linguistic discovery, from the Mayans' destruction by European colonizers to the rediscovery of lost Mayan language codices in various archives. As the whodunit unfolds, Coulter also introduces us to an overview of Mayan culture, including the Mayan calendar, pottery, and history. While English's portrayal of Mayans seems somewhat simplistic for the book's intended age group, other graphics abound. Photographs of original Mayan artifacts, realistic depictions of Mayan cityscapes, and even some of Catherwood's original sketches are included. The author and illustrator do not forget the linguistic bent of their work because the book's endpapers provide numerous Mayan characters in relief so that would-be linguists can produce their own rubbings 2001, Little Brown and Co, Ages 9 to 12.
—K. C. Manus
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Though she includes information on the rediscovery of Mayan culture, ruins, and aspects of daily life, Coulter's focus is on the decipherment and usage of the Mayan syllabary. The author includes the false steps as well as the progress of 19th- and 20th-century researchers and, on many pages, uses "glyph searches" and other hooks to encourage readers to examine carefully the illustrations, which consist of high-quality photos of sites and artifacts, detailed drawings, and clear reproductions. The calendar, ways of naming and identifying people, and counting are all explained in straightforward fashion and in each case the information serves to further the author's goal of making readers think about how these symbols worked and to put them to use. The star attraction is the "Glyphmaster," a spread that provides common signs in relief so that children can make rubbings. There are glyphs for animals, colors, and people, plus a version of the alphabet in which letters are represented by symbols approximating those sounds, even though the text explains that the Mayan system produces syllables, not individual letters. Combining historical information with activity-based ideas, this attractive volume may reach a larger audience than the usual history title.-Coop Renner, Moreno Elementary School, El Paso, TX Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Egyptian hieroglyphs have gotten far more press, but, as Coulter (co-author, To Be a Princess, p. 1355) shows, the ancient Maya carved (or in rare surviving examples, wrote) symbols that are every bit as mysterious, revealing-and useful for creating secret messages. Beginning with the 19th-century rediscovery of Maya cities and culture, Coulter traces the slow deciphering of Maya writing-without the benefit of a Rosetta Stone. Bringing readers along, she introduces each step with a storyteller's gift, keeping it fascinating, while sacrificing none of the facts. She pauses along the way for brief disquisitions on chocolate, the ball game known as "pitz," Maya folklore, beauty secrets, calendars, numbers, and how glyphs were combined to create names and narrative. Recognizing that the symbols are hard to draw freehand, she concludes with a simplified alphabet and mini-glossary printed with raised ink, allowing young enthusiasts to rub such messages as "I have 150 friends," or "[My] brother/sister [is a] yellow dog." Adding to the fun, there are party tips, ideas for projects, and games. A grand profusion of photos, drawings, and stylized new art on lushly glossy paper further brightens this lively, inventive, eye-opening introduction. (index, selected bibliography) (Nonfiction. 7-11)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316158831
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
10/01/2001
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 11.34(h) x 0.45(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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