THE TOMB OF THE BOY KING

John Frank, Author, Tom Pohrt, Illustrator, Tracey Campbell Pearson, Illustrator JUDGING THE PAST IN UNIFIED GERMANY

Frank (Erin's Voyage) spins a mesmerizing epic poem about the discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb, weaving all of its accompanying drama and suspense into a tapestry of measured quatrains ("Three thousand years of darkness yawned/ behind that tiny flickering light—/ and Carter, staring with pupils wide,/ stood stunned before a wondrous sight"). Hooking readers quickly with an alluring glimpse of ancient grave robbers moving "with catlike stealth" in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, Frank sets the scene and then fast-forwards 30 centuries to the efforts of ambitious archeologist Howard Carter and his wealthy friend and financial backer Lord Carnarvon. The author's sophisticated blend of alliteration ("the seas of sweat his pores had spilled") and vivid imagery ("evening shed its twilight husk"; a curse "as dangerous as a sharpened sword"; an afterlife "born again from death's dark womb") conjures all the awe and excitement of Carter's prolonged search and triumphant discovery. An equally intriguing afterword tells more about Tutankhamen, as well as his legendary curse and the mysterious death of Carnarvon. Pohrt's (Having a Wonderful Time) graceful watercolors with their careful composition and muted sepia tones recall old photographs, while borders filled with hieroglyphs and Egyptian motifs underscore the exotic setting. A handsome typeface and elegant page design complete the package. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/12/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Genre: Children's
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