The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle: Solving a Mystery of Ancient Egypt

The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle: Solving a Mystery of Ancient Egypt

by Claudia Logan, Melissa Sweet
     
 

Search for the secrets of a hidden tomb

It is 1924, two years after the discovery of King Tut's tomb. Readers are invited to join a young boy, Will Hunt, as he and his family become part of an archaeological team led by world-famous Egyptologist Dr. George Reisner. Based on actual records of Reisner's history-making dig, Giza 7000X, this strikingly

Overview

Search for the secrets of a hidden tomb

It is 1924, two years after the discovery of King Tut's tomb. Readers are invited to join a young boy, Will Hunt, as he and his family become part of an archaeological team led by world-famous Egyptologist Dr. George Reisner. Based on actual records of Reisner's history-making dig, Giza 7000X, this strikingly original picture book uses journal entries, funny postcards, and quirky cartoons to pull readers into an ancient unsolved mystery. Luminous paintings of the pyramids, informative sidebars and inventive collages, including authentic documents and archival photographs, help provide information and clues. When a secret tomb is uncovered, readers, along with Will, put together clues to discover: Whose tomb is this? Why was it hidden? And how can a mummy be missing from a sealed tomb?

This illuminating book invites readers to participate in the process of archaeology as it provides a rare glimpse into the true stories that exist behind the objects in museums.

The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle is a 2003 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Gripping and entertaining . . . The author . . . explains everything from mumification to the tools of an archeologist's trade to ancient grave robbing. The artist's own paintings . . . share space with such archival materials as period photographs, object register notations and more.” —Starred, Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly
Logan (Scruffy's Museum Adventure) uses a fictional boy hooked on ancient Egypt to guide readers through a real archeological dig in this gripping and entertaining picture book mystery. Young Will Hunt cannot wait to travel with his parents to Giza in 1924 Egypt. There, living right behind the pyramids, he is eyewitness to the discovery of a secret tomb and an excavation led by Harvard archaeologist Dr. George Reisner. The author organizes the narrative into the boy's diary entries, and postcards home from Will to his friend Sam add immediacy and humor to the events (I hope something happens or I'm tombed' to eternal boredom). Readers get a taste of both the painstaking day-to-day grunt work of an archeological dig and the thrill of uncovering the tomb's contents. But the real hook of the book is its central mystery: Who lies in the tomb? As the team progresses, they find strange twists: the usual burial practices have not been followed. Sweet (Ten Little Lambs, reviewed above) toggles between a visual narrative, in which she develops the relationships among the various members of the dig, and a lively presentation of information, with abundant sidebars; the author here explains everything from mummification to the tools of an archeologist's trade to ancient grave robbing. The artist's own paintings, set against a sun-baked backdrop, share space with such archival materials as period photographs, object register notations and more (the book was written in cooperation with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which exhibits reproductions of the expedition's yield). Ancient Egypt aficionados will find much to ponder here. Ages 8-up. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Will Hunt joins his family in 1924 to explore a real archaeological site in Egypt. The story is based on the actual records of the dig. The watercolor and multi-media illustrations are all over the pages—postcards, pretend and period photographs, lists, cartoon sequences, torn newspaper clippings, blocks of text in journal form with dates, and best of all, a mystery. Whose tomb is this? (There's a clues summary at the end, and a theory which leaves the question partially open.) Along the way, readers learn plenty about how careful excavation preserves clues, the challenges of working together with a variety of people, hieroglyphs, and the joys and disappointments of discovery. So much is going on that the book may be difficult to read aloud but the rewards to the reader are that it is so much fun to look at and work through the story as young Will tells it, that readers will be intrigued. It's perfect for paired reading in classroom studies as there's so much see, do, sort and enjoy. End matter includes facts about the tomb, a second plausible theory and websites. 2002, Farrar Straus Giroux with the Cooperation of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,
— Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-It is 1924 and young Will Hunt, already caught up in the fascination with ancient Egypt created by the discovery of King Tut's tomb, is going with his family to be part of the Reisner archaeological expedition in Giza. Through Will's postcards to a friend, journal entries, information-filled sidebars, and actual photographs from the expedition, readers gain insight into what such an endeavor was like. Though the team locates a burial chamber in February, 1925, it is almost a year of painstaking labor before they open the tomb and more than two years before the sarcophagus is examined. The mystery of whose tomb it was and why the mummy is missing is only partially solved and many questions remain. Sweet's lively yet uncomplicated acrylic-and-watercolor illustrations help establish Will's personality and add greatly to the story's appeal. Collages incorporating archival documents, newspaper accounts, and reproductions of Egyptian stamps and money of the early 20th century provide much visual interest. While the story is a bit contrived, it enables young readers to enter into the adventure, frustrations, and mystery of an archaeological investigation. Compared to Joanna Cole's Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt (Scholastic, 2001), the factual information in Logan's book is more concerned with the work of the scientists; only the process of mummification is covered in both books. Puzzle will be a welcome addition to any elementary school study of ancient Egypt and should prove popular with casual readers as well.-Louise L. Sherman, formerly at Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
For armchair archaeologists, young and old, this imaginary trip to Egypt in 1924 will be golden delight. Narrating as a first-hand account through diary entries and postcards sent to his friend back home, young Will Hunt and his family join an expedition to a site called Giza 7000X to search for a secret tomb. The family, as Will's name and pun suggests, is fictitious, while all of the information is based on actual records from a Harvard University/Boston Museum of Fine Arts expedition. Effectively designed double-page spreads utilize acrylics, watercolors, and inventive collages that incorporate stamps, postcards, and archival documents, to create a you-are-there feeling. The story puzzle approach adds an interactive element and sidebars insert details and explanations that further engage the reader. The team does uncover a tomb, one older than King Tut's. Whose tomb is it? Why are things out of place? Is there really a curse? The last two pages provide facts about Giza 7000X and a theory about the missing queen. This clever presentation of nonfiction captures the spirit of adventure and fascination with Egypt and Pyramids with suspense, humor, and zeal. Move over Ms. Frizzle, this guarantees that readers will not be "tombed to eternal boredom." (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-11)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374323356
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
05/08/2002
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
287,142
Product dimensions:
11.61(w) x 10.40(h) x 0.44(d)
Lexile:
900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Claudia Logan is a former museum educator and teacher. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Melissa Sweet has illustrated many books for children, including Charlotte in Giverny. She lives in Rockport, Maine.

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