The Jewel Fish of Karnak

Graeme Base. Abrams, $19.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0086-6
Set in ancient Egypt, Base's latest dynamic, clue-laden adventure stars two wily thieves, Jackal and Ibis; the Cat Pharaoh offers to pardon them if they steal back a jeweled fish sculpture from the Crocodile Prince. The quest, complete with a chase and more imprudent deeds, ends badly for the two. They are condemned to a lifetime of angling for the Jewel Fish that springs to life when it gets wet and goes missing. Readers can release the pair "from their endless task" by deciphering which fish among many in an underwater scene is the Jewel Fish (and by manipulating wheels embedded in the back cover to replicate the jeweled pattern on the fish's fins). Base (The Legend of the Golden Snail) doesn't disappoint his sleuthing fans, providing decodable hieroglyphic messages on painted stone tablets across the bottom of each spread. This tale packs in plenty of puzzle solving and Egyptology amid the boldly animated scenes; the illustrations' exquisite details—right down to the comical facial expressions of the bumbling thieves—tell much of the story. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/18/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Genre: Children's
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