The Egypt Game (paperback)
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
AR Level 5.5, 6 points
Was there a book you remember begrudgingly having to read in school, and then you look back on it with fond memories? Well, I hope someday I can look back on this book with fond memories. I started reading this story with my class while studying Egypt in class. We have a class set for our grade level that looks well-used, so I figured it has been loved throughout the years. For me, it was hard to get through it. Maybe I have been spoiled by awesome modern literature, but this just wasn’t for me.
The Egypt Game follows the story of 3 girls obsessed with Egypt. They all have very unique personalities, and they integrate research, passion, and imagination into a role-playing game about Egypt, creating their own characters and ceremonies based on Egyptology. It is very Sandlot-like, only without the humor, drooling dog, and baseball theme. There are side stories involving the families of the 3 girls, as well as newcomers to the game, and there is something that interrupts their role-playing, and then that problem is solved by a scary, mysterious man who turns out to be a nice guy. You might have seen him in The Sandlot or Home Alone.
What I liked about this book was that it referred back to Ancient Egypt, and my students were able to learn new words or feel confident when word appeared and they already knew what they were. It was easy to remember what an oracle was when there was a whole chapter about an oracle. I liked that my students made the connection between our text book and the novel we read.
What I didn’t like about this book was how I fell asleep as soon as I picked it up. It was hard to make my students read when I didn’t want to read it myself. It won the Newbery Medal, so I realize it has merit, but I found it to be predictable. The characters were underdeveloped, and I felt like it was a movie I had seen. However, being old literature (1967), I could just be spoiled by modern literature.
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