Treasury of Egyptian Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Monsters & Mortals

Treasury of Egyptian Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Monsters & Mortals

5.0 1
by Donna Jo Napoli, Christina Balit

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The new National Geographic Treasury of Egyptian Mythology is a stunning tableau of Egyptian myths, including those of pharaohs, queens, the boisterous Sun God Ra, and legendary creatures like the Sphinx. The lyrical storytelling of award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli dramatizes the timeless tales of ancient Egypt in the year when Angelina Jolie


The new National Geographic Treasury of Egyptian Mythology is a stunning tableau of Egyptian myths, including those of pharaohs, queens, the boisterous Sun God Ra, and legendary creatures like the Sphinx. The lyrical storytelling of award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli dramatizes the timeless tales of ancient Egypt in the year when Angelina Jolie will make Cleopatra a multimedia star. And just like the popular National Geographic Treasury of Greek Mythology, the stories in this book will be beautifully illustrated to bring ancient characters vividly to life. 

The stories are embellished with sidebars that provide historical, cultural, and geographic context and a mapping feature that adds to the fun and fascination. Resource notes and ample back matter direct readers to discover more about ancient Egypt. With its attractive design and beautiful narrative, this accessible treasury stands out from all other mythology titles in the marketplace.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/30/2013
In this excellent companion volume to Treasury of Greek Mythology, Napoli and Balit introduce a panoply of Egyptian gods, goddesses, and other characters, while placing them in the context of Egyptian history, culture, and social mores. Balit’s captivating illustrations mimic the decorative art styles of ancient Egyptians, with manicured lines, prominent use of gold, and detailed patterns. Napoli’s gripping and candid prose informs while offering the immediacy of a contemporary fantasy novel: “Wrath made Sekhmet blood-crazed. She was vengeance incarnate. Death seemed attracted to her.” Sidebars provide additional insights into the lives of ancient Egyptians and other topics, from a brief description of papyrus-making to the rights of Egyptian women under ancient law. These mythological beings emerge as fully formed characters through equally powerful storytelling and images. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Denise Hartzler
Filled with stories of gods, goddesses, monsters and mortals, Napoli introduces readers into a world more colorful and fearful than theirs, but not entirely foreign. journey, Readers journey into the ancient world of Egypt, and as they travel, they will find themselves intrigued with a cast of characters and history of this sacred land. Accompanied by vibrant illustrations, Napoli includes maps to help readers place the stories into geographical context; a family tree and a characters profile page help map the relationships; additional sidebars link the myth to geography, history, culture and real life events, people and places. This book is a great steppingstone for young readers. Each mythical story builds upon the next and soon readers will understand how the hieroglyphics were reflections of the great moments in a god's life, much like what we do today with photographs. The history and science behind mummification and building the wondrous pyramids are all a part of Napoli's text. All these elements lend itself to a well-rounded educated introduction to Egyptian mythology and highly recommended for use by parents and in classrooms. Reviewer: Denise Hartzler
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—Ra spits on the ground and a goddess springs forth. A devoted wife holds a flower so her husband may inhale the scent and a baby appears among the petals. A woman mourns and fertile farmland turns to dust. Prolific storyteller Napoli brings the ancient Egyptian gods to life for modern readers—their jealousies, passions, and grief are the driving forces in tales that explain creation, the seasons, the afterlife, and natural phenomena. Napoli's tone is swaying and intimate, earthy and incantatory, as if she were spinning tales aloud. "In the beginning…ah, many stories open that way." Sentences are fragmented, phrases are repeated, and wonderfully descriptive images are drawn from the physical world: tinkling jewelry, "thorns of anger," hot winds carrying grinding sand. Balit's glowing illustrations combine the flat, frontal style of ancient tomb paintings with flowing, graceful shapes. Curiously, the artist has chosen a very light skin tone for most of the Egyptians—both divine and human-in her paintings, with no explanation offered. Text pages are adorned with patterned borders, textured margins, and scattered stylized stars in gold. These effects, combined with stiff paper and a color palette drawn from semiprecious stones and metals, lend the book a weighty, sacramental quality. A lyrical retelling of the braided, interwoven, sometimes contradictory stories from the land of the Sphinx.—Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-15
Napoli (Treasury of Greek Mythology, 2011) again challenges readers to regard the old gods in new ways. The author provocatively explores the thesis that ancient Egyptian worship could be considered monotheistic, considering how closely intertwined the culture's gods were in origins and natures. She introduces 17 major deities and a handful of minor ones in a mix of equally lively stories and exposition, beginning with Ra's self-creation from the unchanging ("Boring, really") waters of Nun. The divine council known as the Pesedjet convenes, and Usir (Osiris) is killed by Set but magically revived for one night with his beloved Aset (Isis). A final chapter introduces Imhotep, architect of the first pyramid, who was born human but later deified. Depicted in a flat, art-deco style but reminiscent of Leo and Diane Dillon's figures in gravitas and richness of color and detail, deities and earthly creatures lend visual dimension to the mystical, larger-than-life grandeur of the stories as well as reflecting their more human griefs, jealousies and joys. Reinforcing a sense of otherness, Napoli uses the Egyptian forms of names throughout, though they are paired to their more recognizable Greek equivalents in running footers. To shed light on the mortal Egyptians, she intersperses boxed cultural notes, as well as chapters on mummification and "The Great Nile." Sumptuous of format, magisterial of content, stimulating for heart and mind both. (map, timeline, gallery of deities, postscript discussion of sources, bibliography, index) (Mythology. 11-14)
From the Publisher
Named a 2014 Notable Children's Book by the Association for Library Service to Children

"Sumptuous of format, magisterial of content, stimulating for heart and mind both." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Mythological beings emerge as fully formed characters through equally powerful storytelling and images." Publishers Weekly, starred review

"In this exemplary book of folklore, Napoli introduces young readers to Egyptian mythology with vivid language and illustration and anchors the tales in intriging and research-supported interpretation." Association for Library Service to Children

Product Details

National Geographic Society
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.44(w) x 12.02(h) x 0.84(d)
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

DONNA JO NAPOLI is professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College, mother of five, grandmother of two, and the author of more than seventy books for children and young adults. While her undergraduate major was mathematics and her graduate work was in linguistics, she has a profound love of mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. Her website is

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Treasury of Egyptian Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Monsters & Mortals 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
SetoK 6 months ago
The artwork presented within this tome is impeccable to say the least. The colors thrive on the pages and burst forth with life. However, that seems to be the only thing going in this books favor. My only qualm with the art is that it is extremely white washed. If you are going to talk about Egypt, let's get things right. Especially, if this is going to be a book for children; as they need to have some variance and truth. At that young of an age, they need to see Egypt as it really is. Let's lay some foundation here. According to Ancient Egyptian beliefs, the world began from the waters of Nun; that is absolute nothing/chaos. The Ogdoad, consisting of eight deities in four male-female sets are as follows: Nu and Naunet; Kuk and Kauket; Huh and Hauhet; and Amun and Amaunet each represented the primordial concepts. That is the primordial waters, air, hidden powers, darkness and obscurity, eternity and infinity, invisibility, and air. As these forces shifted and became unbalanced, a celestial bird, either Bennu (Phoenix) or Ibis (as the deity Thoth) laid the egg upon a mound in which Ra was born. To clarify, there were gods in existence before Ra was even a creational thought! The literature within almost appalls me. The amount of research dedicated to this is minimal to say the least. I'll begin by stating that the Ancient Egyptians were a polytheistic culture. This book makes the folly of attempting to convert a polytheistic society into a monotheistic, western one. It is beyond irritating that I can't seem to read this without feeling that there is some form of biblical implication or translation within. Within the Introductory segment (Page 7) the very last sentence reads, "Perhaps the Egyptians, then, really believed in only one god- the sun god- who could take many forms." This would prove to be inaccurate as there were at least eight if not nine (because of Thoth) deities who existed prior to Ra's creation. The Ancient Egyptians had complex rituals for each god/goddess in their own independence. These deities were seen as separate and complex. Not just a simple aspect of a single deity. The history, for instance, behind Horus and Set is too complex to just say that one is good and the other bad. (You can gather some of Ancient Egypt's beliefs and rituals through Alchemical studies, as Alchemy originated in Ancient Egypt and China.) Furthermore, while the god's epithets seem like a creative attempt to differentiate between your book and others, I hate to say but Ra is not the "God of Radiance". He is the God of the Sun. The Sun and Radiance are not synonymous. Set/Sutekh is not the Envious God. He is the God of the Desert, Storms, Discord, and Foreign Lands. If the author had taken consideration, she might have noted in her research that Set was a deity who was actually worshipped along side Ra for many years. Special areas of Ancient Egypt were dedicated just to him, the Sun God's best lieutenant. I also don't appreciate how Ms. Napoli depicts Set as wholly evil or jealous. It is true that he did some questionable things but why was there no mention of him at the prow of the sun barque- defending Ra from Apep? He was a mediating force rather than an evil one. Apep was evil. I think the author should have done more research and the artist should pay more attention to the culture-style in which they are drawing/coloring. Not everyone in Egypt is going to be pasty white, like myself. It's almost offensive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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