THE EGYPTIAN BOX

Jane Louise Curry, Author . S&S/McElderry $16 (192p) ISBN 978-0-689-84273-3

Good groundwork successfully supports Curry's (A Stolen Life) contemporary fantasy, despite an underwhelming conclusion. Tee Woodie isn't excited when she inherits an Egyptian shabti from an eccentric uncle, but when her brother accidentally awakens the figure, which was meant to be a servant in the afterlife, she quickly realizes its potential: it does her chores and her homework. Tee is less engaging than many middle-grade protagonists (an underachiever academically and personally, she prefers adventure novels to homework and does not make an effort to connect with others), but readers will relate to her enthusiasm over having a servant. As she uses the shabti more, it begins to look like her, and its "jerky" mannerisms become human, so Tee sends it to school. She begins to suspect, though, that the shabti has decided to become Tee fulltime and, even worse, everyone, including her parents, seems to like the fake Tee better. Tee treats the shabti shabbily, and the revenge the shabti takes feels almost warranted. But while Tee does learn to step outside herself, the change in her character feels disingenuous. Some confusing plotting at the end dims an otherwise fun read. Ages 9-12. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/04/2002
Release date: 03/01/2002
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 196 pages - 978-1-4169-7140-5
Hardcover - 216 pages - 978-0-7862-4896-4
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