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Hot on the Trail in Ancient Egypt–young time travelers

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Hot on the Trail in Ancient Egypt

written by Linda Bailey

illustrations by Bill Slavin

Hot on the Trail in Ancient EgyptHot on the Trail in Ancient Egypt is a juvenile graphic novel that kept this adult interested from beginning to end.  In this book, which is part of The Time Travel Guides, the bored Pinkerton twins chase after their little sister Libby who has entered the rather creepy Good Times Travel Agency. Opening the owner’s personal guide book catapults the three children into Ancient Egypt. They learn that their adventure will not end until they finish reading the book.

The layout of the book is very appealing. The fictional story is told in comic book style at the top of the page. At the bottom of the page is a drawing of an aged book (Julian T. Pettigrew’s Personal Guide to Ancient Egypt) containing nonfiction text that explains and elaborates upon what is happening in the story. For example, when an Egyptian woman invites them into her home, the nonfiction text describes the house, food, and clothing of Ancient Egypt.

I can’t stress enough the current importance of books like this to interest children in history for three reasons. First, most people are familiar with the saying attributed to George Santayana that “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” There are many horrific events in history most can agree should never be repeated. Second, sadly to say, most children are not exposed to history in their younger years in school. The school day and curriculum in public elementary school is so regimented that the focus is reading, taught in a boring and uninspired way, math, and standardized testing. I am not kidding or exaggerating when I say that as a teacher I had to sneak in science and history and hope the principal didn’t catch me. Third, history is interesting and FUN. in an age when teachers do their best to incorporate games and movement activities called “brain breaks” (to replace the recess that was taken away), we need to restore the intrinsic fun that comes through learning interesting things. In that way we create life long learners.

In addition, a book of this type actively demonstrates reasons for reading—to learn more about something you are interested in and to be carried away by a story. I particularly appreciate that Bailey gave a belated shout out to her high school history teacher: “Great work, Mr. Visch—you made it fun!” She dedicated the book to her daughter who “once did a school project on the Sphinx and has been in love with all things Egyptian ever since.” Teachers and projects do make a difference.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kids Can Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Children’s Nonfiction

Notes: 1. new edition of an older book

  2. Grade Level: 3-7

  3. Age Range: 8-12 years

Publication:   May 1, 2018—Kids Can Press

Memorable Lines:

For drinks, try the national beverage—beer! It’s made from half-cooked bread and river water, and it’s thick, dark and sometimes a bit lumpy. You’re supposed to strain it well before serving, but not everyone does.

Down at the bottom are the farmers and laborers. Most people in ancient Egypt are at the bottom of the society—where there’s plenty of room!

Sightseeing in the middle of a getaway? This was a very bad idea. Emma and Josh tried to lure their little sister out of the pyramid.

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8 Comments

  1. A good review. History was always an interesting subject for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy says:

    There is nothing better than to be carried away by a good book! I agree with you completely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      As you can tell, I am really passionate about sharing my love of reading with future generations. One of the highest compliments I received as a teacher was when a parent came back to me several years later and told me “My child loves to read because of you.” Unfortunately it has become harder and harder to make that happen under the current educational system. I truly feel for the “test preparers” that thought they had signed up for teaching.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cozynookbks says:

    Books like these are so important today. So glad there are still teachers like yourself who are truly interested in teaching today’s youth. They can really use history lessons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      Actually after 34 years I resigned, but in my heart I am still a teacher. I just couldn’t do to children what was being asked of me. I was caught in a land of doing what was right for kids and doing what was required by the system. So I started this blog to talk about education issues, but it has morphed into more with book reviews and a little talk about Mexico.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cozynookbks says:

        Sadly this has happened to others as well. It’s frustrating being subject to rules and regulations that are in opposition to your own conscience. I’ve heard doctors lament about this same issue. It’s too bad because many adept, caring people are lost because of it. Yourself included.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lghiggins says:

        Good point about doctors. We had one of our best doctors ever retire for that very reason. Among other things, I have noticed some will not see pharmaceutical representatives or accept samples anymore. Bravo!

        Like

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