Summary: Grade 4-8–Some children will already be familiar with the work of this Egyptian archaeologist from TV documentaries about his excavations along the Nile. Hawass is passionate about this work and effectively relates his enthusiasm for it in this first-person account that has the same immediacy as the televised specials. The history of the mummy's curse becomes the frame of his narrative, but the author is at his best when describing his excavations, their inherent dangers (ancient germs, crumbling rock, snakes), and the excitement of discovery. His stories of grave robbers caught millennium ago, and documented in papyrus texts, are fascinating. He also discusses his recent excavations at Giza and his discovery of multichambered tombs at Bahariya Oasis that contain hundreds of mummies. After providing readers with some history of the many myths and legends surrounding the "curse," which he attributes to novelists and "silly" Hollywood movies, he adds a few of his own stories and experiences with the "magic" of the tombs. The full-color photos are superb; they include clear close-up shots of mummies, statues, artifacts, sites, and a number of the scientist at work. There are also a few helpful cutaway diagrams. Appendixes provide tips for kids thinking about a future in archaeology, information on mummification, and useful glossaries. While the exciting title and cover will draw young readers in, it's Hawass's passion, storytellling skills, and the terrific illustrations that will keep them reading.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal
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Classroom Implications: Enthusiasm from the author seeps through this text and demonstrates how passion for things found in the world can transfer over to nonfiction writing. This text is a wonderful supplemental text for social studies to use in the classroom. It also helps students to build their comfort levels around nonfiction reading.