The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Summary from Goodreads:

The first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she's not sure they'll have anything in common. But she soon discovers that they both love anything to do with ancient Egypt. When they stumble upon a deserted storage yard behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio Shop, Melanie and April decide it's the perfect sport for the Egypt Game.

Before long there are six Egyptians instead of two. After school and on weekends they all meet to wear costumes, hold ceremonies, and work on their secret code.

Everyone thinks it's just a game, until strange things begin happening to the players. Has the Egypt Game gone too far?


Back when I was a kid, I was many things. A doctor, a mother, a cook, a waitress, a pilot, a stewardess, a vendor, an X-Men, a Planeteer. I've been in these role playing games that provided hours of endless entertainment. But none that is as imaginative as The Egypt Game. I was amazed at how creative these kids were about the setup of their game. It was a mixture of actual facts from books and those that they have devised themselves. I admire how they improvised with whatever materials they had at hand to re-create the atmosphere of Egypt. Most importantly, I loved their passion for Egypt and the Game. They were so into it that I felt wishing I could be let in on their game too.

For the most part, I thought the book was just all about these kids and their particular game and nothing more. Just kids goofing around with special interest in Egypt. Fun and safe. But things started to heat up when news of a murderer on the loose surfaced in their neighborhood. This restricted the time they get to play the game inside Egypt (the back lot of the antique shop in the neighborhood). Then they were infiltrated and had no choice but to open their game to the two boys or risk being shut down. And then things started taking the creepy and kooky turn when the "oracle" started answering the questions they left on a piece of paper. But the biggest event of them all was the run-in with the murderer!

The book, is more than an Egypt history fact book, it tackled issues about family, friendship, and the society. April's struggling relationship with her mother and grandmother. Melanie's and April's fear and anxiety of being accepted by their peers at school. There is the mysterious Professor, the owner of the lot, which they have dubbed as the land of Egypt and where the Egypt Game takes place. He is somewhat a Boo Radley in their neighborhood. Him being a mysterious and reclusive guy made him a target of ill talk from the townspeople. It was heart breaking how he was shunned and judged by the grownups and made fun of by most the neighborhood kids. But this person has been instrumental to the kids and to the Egypt Game which goes beyond just being the abandoned lot and antique shop owner. April and Marshall discovered that first hand, as to the details, I will leave for you to find out.

This book was written years ago but despite being an old book, I think it still holds much of the magic of Egypt and a lot of the beauty of a child's imagination. It made me think how much of it we lose once we grow up.


The Egypt Game is the recipient of the Newbery Honor (1968), and George C. Stone Center for Children's Books Recognition of Merit Award (1973)

This is my 16th entry for the Award Winning Books Reading Challenge hosted by Gathering Books.

I was one of the April Winners of the above mentioned challenge, with The Egypt Game as my prize, so I would like to give a big thank you to the lovely ladies of Gathering Books! :D

Comments

  1. Zilpha Keatley Snyder is one of my favorite authors and I loved this book alongside a few of her other novels. I am glad that you enjoyed this book prize and included it in the August database for the AWB Reading Challenge. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Myra! I think it's a great book for kids. Fun and imaginative. Perhaps they can have their very own Egypt Game or Roman Game or Grecian Game. :D Marshall was my favorite character.

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