History may be the study of events that have happened in the past, but it never stops being a source of fascination in the present - nor does it ever cease to be open to new understanding, interpretations and methods of encouraging people to learn about it, interact with it and learn from it. One such period of history, ancient Egypt, continues to form an essential part of the Key Stage 2 curriculum for schools in the United Kingdom. It is a vast swathe of history still under investigation by archaeologists, Egyptologists (people who study Egyptian history specifically) and many others besides. There are television programmes, Museum exhibitions and of course publishing all of which centre on or make use of the fascination we all have with this mysterious, evocative time period and its people.
The British Museum is probably one of the first places that comes to mind when thinking about Museums and studies of ancient Egypt. A world leader and with a world-renowned collection, it is easy to see why. For this very reason (and probably as they are near neighbours) the publisher Nosy Crow have a continuing collaboration with the Museum and are producing a range of innovative books on ancient Egypt as a result.
Want to have a tactile experience of the ancient Egyptians and at the same time learn more about certain aspects of their culture? Press Out and Decorate Ancient Egypt, with illustrations by Kate McLelland, contains over three golden decorations which need to be pressed out of their pages and are waiting for decoration – the more colourful the better! Why not visit some of the displays in the British Museum for inspiration? You don’t even have to live in London – there's lots of material online, too. Remember the Egyptians loved colour and so should you - don’t be afraid to be bold. Once you have completed your creations, they are ready to decorate your room or your house – hand them, stand them, play with them. This creative set of 3D ornaments needs your imagination and you could even take them apart, store them back in the book and then start all over again. Illustration on the inner front and back covers provides some brief information about some of the decorations too, so you will be learning a few facts as you create – perhaps this will spark your imagination and curiosity and lead you on to …
The question of How to Find Egyptian Treasure. Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves (Simon & Schuster) will help you but more importantly so will Albie for this is his question too and it is his adventure that we will follow in the story that awaits. This is Albie’s ninth adventure and it takes him into a new, thrilling historical chapter. The first question (well, I suppose the second really, as you have now seen the title) is do you make use of the hieroglyphic alphabet to decode the front cover hieroglyphs or do you dive straight into the adventure which awaits? For me the adventure won! We find Albie first in his sandpit in the garden, busy building his sandcastle. It is almost complete when … a wind whips him up and away to … well, where do you think he might have gone? Some clues … he meets a boy, Prince Tuti. There are catacombs, thieves looking for treasure, secret doors and even a sarcophagus! I won’t reveal how the adventure works out or where Ablie might be going next, but rest assured this is an adventure to enjoy to the full with plenty of detail in the bold, colourful and packed pictures you will be eager to read time and again with questions to ask and facts to discover.
Having adventured with Albie, it must now be time to Find Tom in Time. Ancient Egypt (Fatti Burke, Nosy Crow & The British Museum). In this spotting book, there is not just Tom to look for - after all, that would be far too easy! Tom is lost in time, his cat Digby is lost too and there is also Granny Bea. Add in the scarab beetle to look for in every scene, as you progress through the pictures from ancient Egyptian life – pyramids, funerals, the River Nile, farmland and marketplace as well as school and houses - you will be exposed to everyday life as we imagine it in ancient Egypt. Did you know that the people in an Egyptian funeral procession put dirt on their heads and beat their bodies with their arms to show how upset they were? How about the fact that they kept bees and had feasts at the temples of their deceased relatives to help keep the gods happy and protect them all? Don’t forget though, read the facts but look for Tom and Digby too -oh, and of course that naughty scarab! Plus, check the ‘Can you spot?’ box for more things to look out for. A fascinating and fun introduction to the culture of ancient Egypt and a great way to ensure that children become truly immersed in a book.