Zekmet, the Stone Carver: A Tale of Ancient Egypt

Zekmet, the Stone Carver: A Tale of Ancient Egypt

by Mary Stolz, Deborah N. Lattimore

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School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-6 Stolz imagines how, thousands of years ago, a serenely arrogant Egyptian King Khafre might have ordered his groveling, grumbling vizier, Ho-tep, to plan yet another monument to his lasting glory. In the workmen's quarters, Ho-tep meets Zekmet, a skilled stone-carver whose desert-inspired vision producesafter some shrewd negotiating with the vizierthe monument known now as the Great Sphinx. Story, place, and characters come alive from the first elegant sentence. There are some slyly comic portraits, especially of Khafre and Ho-tep, exposing these two as all too human, and this account of the Sphinx' genesis is quite plausible. The illustrations rely heavily on decorative and hieroglyphic motifs associated with ancient Egyptian art, adapting these conventions to breathe spirit into what could have lain stonily on the page. The predominant tones are cream, terra cotta, and gray, with accents of colors suggesting the favored gemstones of Egyptian antiquity: lapis, carnelian, and turquoise; there's Nile green, too. It's a thoughtful execution resulting in a blend of formality and liveliness compatible with similar traits in the text. An imaginative and satisfying time-trip. Karen Litton, Confederation Centre Public Library, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

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