Egyptian Book Reviews : Ancient Egypt Pack

Book Review by May Kay Radnich


A three-dimensional celebration of
Egyptian mythology, culture, art,
life and the afterlife

by Christos Kondeatis & Sara Maitland
Bulfinch Press
Little, Brown and Company
Boston-New York-Toronto-London

Is it a book? Is it a box? Its both!

Chris Kondeatis and Sara Maitland, along with the creative folks at Bulfinch Press have come up with a marvelous ancient Egyptian activity pack, more than just coloring books and hieroglyphs, which will delight the child in all of us.

I received this marvelous gem as a holiday gift, from a dear friend who knew that I had been smitten, bitten by the scarab, after my first trip to Egypt in 1999.

This book, or pack, opens to reveal a lidded box on the left side, tied with a satin ribbon, which, when opened displays a shallow box containing the elements of the game Senmet, the instructional book and the parts with which to construct the funerary mask of Tut out of paper. This mask, by the way, is not for the faint of heart. While appropriately labeled and numbered, it nevertheless is a work of art, even in paper, and its construction will leave you feeling as if you had indeed, created the real thing!

The right hand side of the pack consists of pages, which are highlighted by a variety of pop-ups (much like childhood greeting cards) and models of various Egyptian treasures.

Want to see the three pyramids of the Giza Plateau in the blue aura of morning light? Merely raise the door to the pop-up. How about a pop-up of the Sphinx ... with his nose?? Its there. How about the Book of the Dead in miniature? You can fold it out and have a look. My personal favorite is a model of the sarcophagus of King Tut. Remembering the paper dolls of my childhood (am I dating myself?), I eagerly opened the paper sarcophagus, only to find Tut with his funerary mask. Slipping the gold and lapis mask off of his mummys head, (and wishing that my daughters Barbie and Ken dolls had Egyptologist outfits), I then proceeded to "unfold" Tuts wrappings, ultimately revealing his mummy. Pretty cool.

The art in each element is based either on photographs of the actual item, or in the case of the ancient temple of Karnak, very realistic drawings. So realistic that, in fact, you feel as though you have Tuts mask in your hands, holding your completed product.

Is this the most scholarly Egyptology item in the bookstore? No, of course not. But it certainly is one of the most fun items I have ever seen, with great appeal for older students and the child in all of us. So if you are stuck inside this winter, as I am, try the Ancient Egypt Pack and you can bring your Egyptian fantasies to life.