Tutankhamen's Gift

Overview

Small and frail, Tutankhamen was an all but ignored member of the royal family of the great Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III. At the school of the menoi, or tutors, he did not excel at physical activities with the other royal princes. Keeping to himself, he observed and admired the work of his father's craftsmen, who built glorious temples to Egypt's many gods. Someday he too would find a gift for those gods.

Then Amenhotep III died and the unpopular reign of Tutankhamen's brother...

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Overview

Small and frail, Tutankhamen was an all but ignored member of the royal family of the great Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III. At the school of the menoi, or tutors, he did not excel at physical activities with the other royal princes. Keeping to himself, he observed and admired the work of his father's craftsmen, who built glorious temples to Egypt's many gods. Someday he too would find a gift for those gods.

Then Amenhotep III died and the unpopular reign of Tutankhamen's brother ended in mystery. Who now would be pharaoh? Could it be a boy of only ten?

As he did with the life of Saint Valentine (Atheneum, 1992), Robert Sabuda combines simple text with artwork true to the historical period in which Tutankhamen lived.

Tutankhamen, the youngest child of great pharoah Amenhotep III, became the ruler--at age ten--following the deaths of his father and older brother. Through clear and simple text accompanied by exquisite artwork, Sabuda introduces today's child to this extraordinary child from ancient time. Illustrated in five colors with cut paper and ink on papyrus.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a starred review, PW said, "Sabuda neatly distills the history of a celebrated young ruler while offering a visual treat on each page"; the decorative illustrations feature a single piece of cut black paper against a background of painted papyrus. Ages 6-9. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-While not much is really known about Tutankhamen, his persona continues to intrigue young and old alike. Here is a book geared toward younger children about this fascinating figure. Imparting facts about Egyptian history, Sabuda creates a background world and then places the boy who would be king in it. Readers learn of customs such as the fact that only female members were included in ancient family portraits and that women in mourning threw dust in their hair when they wept. They read of temples built and then destroyed and of gods who became angry, abandoning their people. The uniqueness of this book, however, is in its extraordinary illustrations. Bold black framework cut from a single sheet of paper adheres to handmade Egyptian papyrus that has been brightly painted in dazzling early Egyptian designs. Cats, long worshiped by the Egyptians, are found on almost every page. Notes at the end of the book give additional facts about this ancient civilization and the discovery of Tut's tombs. For more information, try Piero Ventura and Gian P. Ceserani's In Search of Tutankhamen Silver Burdett, 1985. But, for sheer beauty, Sabuda's book is a winner.-Dot Minzer, North Barrington School, Barrington, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689817304
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 8/1/1997
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 530,519
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Sabuda

Robert Sabuda is one of the most innovative and inventive children's book creators and is known worldwide for his amazing pop-up paper engineering. His books include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Night Before Christmas, The Winter's Tale, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, to name but afew, have garnered numerous awards and have made the New York Times bestseller lists on many occasions. He lives in New York City.

Robert Sabuda is one of the most innovative and inventive children's book creators and is known worldwide for his amazing pop-up paper engineering. His books include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Night Before Christmas, The Winter's Tale, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, to name but afew, have garnered numerous awards and have made the New York Times bestseller lists on many occasions. He lives in New York City.

Biography

Pop-up books are true oddities of children's publishing. They are charmingly quaint and old-fashioned, yet eternally popular. They've been around for ages, but precious few creative souls set out to become pop-up artists. This, however, is not the case with Robert Sabuda, who seems to have been born to make pop-up books.

Sabuda made his first step toward becoming one of the most ingenious pop-up artists in contemporary publishing as a very young child. He grew up in a household where books were held in the highest regard and reading was always encouraged. He has fond memories of being read to by his mother when he was a little boy. Sabuda's first encounter with a pop-up book occurred in a dentist office. Anxious about his appointment, young Robert's mother read a pop-up book with him to take his mind off the dentist's chair. He was instantly hooked.

Sabuda's background as a gifted artist also played a key role in his future career. As a kid, he was fortunate enough to be encouraged in his artistic pursuits by his teachers and his parents, his father being a mason and carpenter. He inherited from his dad a lifelong fascination with construction and avidly studied the pop-up books he received as gifts to find out what made them work. Imaginative and curious, he even made his own pop-ups out of discarded manila envelopes his mom brought home from her office.

This childhood hobby would prove invaluable, as an older Sabuda set out on a career in children's books. He got his start as a journeyman illustrator working with such writers as Eugene Bradley Coco (The Fiddler's Son; Wishing Well) and Jay Patrick Lewis (Earth Verses and Water Rhymes). He even worked on adaptations of Walt Whitman classics geared toward young readers.

Sabuda's first solo effort was Saint Valentine (1992), a retelling of the ancient tale of a humble Roman physician who brings about a miracle. The focal point of this charmingly simple story is Sabuda's illustrations, a series of intricate, exquisite mosaics made of marbleized and hand-painted paper that simulate the look of early Christian art. Proof of a craftsmanship rarely seen in children's books, Saint Valentine and its sequel, Tutankhamen's Gift, revealed the illustrator's uncanny talent for creating unconventional art.

In 1994, Sabuda discovered his niche with The Christmas Alphabet, a seasonal delight filled with eye-catching pop-ups and crafted with an elegance as appealing to adults as to children. The Christmas Alphabet was the first in a long line of remarkable paper-engineered wonders covering a wide range of subject matter. He would adapt famous tales (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), tackle contemporary issues (the Help the Animals series), and tell completely original stories (Winter's Tale).

Some of Sabuda's finest work has been done in collaboration with his partner and good friend Matthew Reinhart. Between them, these two pop-up geniuses have produced stunning work, including two wonderful science-oriented series, the Young Naturalist's Pop-up Handbook and the Encyclopedia Prehistorica. And although each has become increasingly involved in independent projects, they continue to influence each other in subtle and dramatic ways.

In explaining the attraction of the pop-up genre to today's technologically savvy kids, Sabuda says,. "I think [kids] are drawn to pop-up books because so much in their world today to them seems like magic, electronically," Sabuda told Barnes & Noble.com. "So, when they see one of my pop-ups books and they open it, they're amazed that it's occurring just by turning the page... that there's no electronics or bells or whistles to make that happen. I know that just from a creative part, they love seeing that magic occur."

Good To Know

As a boy, Sabuda took tap lessons at a local dance school, where he also furthered his artistic abilities by designing backdrops.

Shortly after graduating from Pratt Institute in New York City, Sabuda made ends meet by designing boxes for women's underwear.

Sabuda's first work in children's publishing was as an illustrator of coloring books, which books based on such popular movie characters as the very non-kid-friendly Rambo.

Sabuda shared some fun facts about himself in our interview:

"My first job was as a hardware stock boy and I LOVED it. To this day, when someone says 'Home Depot,' I start salivating like Pavlov's dog."

"I'm inspired to create the work that I do because I really don't know how to do anything else. Besides it's a bit of a curse, too. I always have so many ideas that I feel like I'll never get to them all."

"I don't know how to drive a car and have no desire to learn."

"My partner (author/illustrator) Matthew Reinhart and I just got an 1830's farmhouse in up state New York. Having it renovated has been a great project. It's like working on a huge pop-up that you can live in."

"To unwind, I do yoga, but my practice is pretty average. But I can do a headstand, away from the wall, which for me is a really big deal!"

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 8, 1965
    2. Place of Birth:
      Pinckney, Michigan
    1. Education:
      B.F.A., Pratt Institute, 1987
    2. Website:

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