Although the Lands, Peoples, and Cultures series is separated into three volumes, the contents are so interrelated that the reader really needs to perceive them as a single entity: They share a common thread: how people live and work today in this land of the Nile, deserts, and antiquities. Regarding the last of these, the books abound in photosof the Sphinx, the pyramids, King Tut's gold death mask, Edfu, and Luxor. There also are photos of the people at work, at prayer, at home, and in school. Pictures depict people of the Siwa Oasis, the Bedouins, people on camels and in donkey carts, and workers picking cotton and dates, loading sugar cane, and plying their various trades in cities and villages. Other photos showing farmers irrigating fields, fishers rowing boats, felucca sailboats, and water blasting from the Aswan dam accent the area's dependence on the Nile.
The series also conveys clear and wellillustrated explanations of how the pyramids were built, how mummies are preserved, how to write your name in heiroglyphs, and how the Great Temple of Abu Simbel was moved. Topics occupy twopage spreads and consist of headed paragraphs interspersed with colored photographs. For example, the topic "Transportation Then and Now" has paragraphs labeled "Waterways," "Suez Canal," "Camels," and "City Traffic." "Village Life" has sections labeled "Village Homes," "Farming," "Everyday Chores," and Family and Friends," while "Ancient Beliefs" has paragraphs titled "Gods and Goddesses," "Temples and Priests," "Sacred Cat," and "Amulets."
A few weaknesses stand out: There is no clear picture of the Aswan dam or any mention of ecological effects in the Nile delta because ofblocked sediments. Also, the one map of Egypt is oversimplified, showing neither the Suez Canal nor elevations. And neither a diagram nor a description of an Archimedes screw used for irrigation conveys how the screw actually works. Still, because the strength of these books lies in their photographs, young children can get an inclusive view of Egypt regardless of their reading ability or grade level. (a Bobbie Kalman Book; from the Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series.) Recommended, Grades 38. REVIEWER: Dr. George Hennings (emeritus, Kean University) ISBN: 0865052336