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The Egypt Game

The Egypt Game

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The Egypt Game

4/5 (33 оценки)
190 pages
2 hours
Oct 23, 2012

Примечание редактора

Beloved children’s author…

Beloved author Zilpha Keatley Snyder was known for her imaginative and charming children’s mysteries. This Newbery Award-winning classic is emblematic of that style: a funny, suspenseful, and captivating tale of friendship and the power of imagination.


Written by Scribd Editors

In a small college town in California, neighbors April Hall and Melanie Ross meet. As the two children discover they both love ancient Egypt, they decide the empty storage yard behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio shop is the perfect place for The Egypt Game.

Soon, their group of two becomes a group of six and the game expands. From intense research comes costumes, ceremonies, secret codes, and before long, the eerie happens.

All of a sudden, people are dying, the friends are being attacked, and their oracle is giving them unnerving answers. Has their roleplay gone too far? Is it time to stop?

From beloved author Zilpha Keatley Snyder, this Newbery Award-winner is imaginative, intriguing, and suspenseful all at once. With drawings from Alton Raible to enhance the experience, this contemporary mystery is sure to compel middle grade readers from start to finish.

Oct 23, 2012

Об авторе

Zilpha Keatley Snyder (b. 1927) is a three-time Newbery Honor–winning author of adventure and fantasy novels for children. Her smart, honest, and accessible narrative style has made her books beloved by generations. When not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling. Snyder lives in Mill Valley, California.     

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The Egypt Game - Zilpha Keatley Snyder



Over the years since The Egypt Game was first published, I’ve heard from a great many readers. Their letters have been wonderful, telling me how much they enjoyed the book and how they made up their own versions of the game, and almost always asking me the following question: Where do you get your ideas?

That question is perhaps the one fiction writers hear more frequently than any other. But it’s the wrong question. A better one would be How do you get your ideas? Because getting story ideas is pretty much a matter of habit—the habit of taking interesting, but rather ordinary, bits and pieces of reality and building on them, weaving them together until a story emerges. Ideas can come from anywhere. Everyone has good sources of ideas. But the building and weaving part can be hard—fun and exciting but also difficult and demanding.

I’ve often used The Egypt Game to illustrate how any story can have idea roots that go back to different periods in one’s life. The longest root goes back to when I was in fifth grade and became fascinated by the culture of ancient Egypt. I read everything I could find on the subject, made up my own hieroglyphic alphabet, and played my own rather simple, and very private, Egypt Game, which included walking to school like an Egyptian—imagining myself as Queen Nefertiti, actually.

A somewhat shorter root goes back to when I was teaching in Berkeley, California, while my husband was in graduate school. My classes usually consisted of American kids of all races, as well as a few whose parents were graduate students from other countries. All six of the main characters in The Egypt Game are based, loosely but with ethnic accuracy, on people who were in my class one year—even Marshall, whom I had to imagine backward in time to four years of age.

And the shortest root goes back to when my own daughter, a sixth-grader at the time, became intrigued by my stories about my Egyptian period and started her own version of the Egypt Game. Her game was much more complicated than mine and involved many of the activities I described in the story, including the mummification of our parakeet, who, like Elizabeth’s Prince Pete-ho-tep, died by feline assassination. A few years later, when my daughter was in her teens, she sometimes threatened to go through every one of my books looking for all the good ideas she had given me—and charge me for them!

But as I said before, all these idea roots came from rather ordinary sources that needed to be built on and woven together until they became the story of The Egypt Game.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder

The Discovery of Egypt

NOT LONG AGO IN A LARGE UNIVERSITY TOWN IN California, on a street called Orchard Avenue, a strange old man ran a dusty shabby store. Above the dirty show windows a faded peeling sign said:





Nobody knew for sure what the A-Z meant. Perhaps it referred to the fact that all sorts of strange things—everything from A to Z—were sold in the store. Or perhaps it had something to do with the owner’s name. However, no one seemed to know for sure what his name actually was. It was all part of a mysterious uncertainty about even the smallest item of public information about the old man. Nobody seemed certain, for instance, just why he was known as the Professor.

The neighborhood surrounding the Professor’s store was made up of inexpensive apartment houses, little family-owned shops, and small, aging homes. The people of the area, many of whom had some connection with the university, could trace their ancestors to every continent, and just about every country in the world.

There were dozens of children in the neighborhood; boys and girls of every size and style and color, some of whom could speak more than one language when they wanted to. But in their schools and on the streets they all seemed to speak the same language and to have a number of things in common. And one of the things they had in common, at that time, was a vague and mysterious fear of the old man called the Professor.

Just what was so dangerous about the Professor was uncertain, like everything else about him, but his appearance undoubtedly had something to do with the rumors. He was tall and bent and his thin beard straggled up his cheeks like dry moss on gray rocks. His eyes were dark and expressionless, and set so deep under heavy brows that from a distance they looked like dark empty holes. And from a distance was the only way that most of the children of Orchard Avenue cared to see them. The Professor lived somewhere at the back of his dingy store, and when he came out to stand in the sun in his doorway, smaller children would cross the street if they had to walk by.

Now and then, older and braver boys, inspired by the old man’s strangeness, would dare each other into an attempt to tease or torment him—but not for long. Their absolute failure to get any sort of a reaction from their victim was not only discouraging, it was weird enough to spoil the fun for even the bravest of bullies.

Since there were several antique stores in the area to draw the buyers, the Professor seemed to do a fairly good business with out-of-town collectors; but his local trade was very small. It was said that he sold items that were used, but not antique, very cheaply, but even for grown-ups the prospect of a bargain was often not enough to offset the discomfort of the old man’s stony stare.

It was one day early in a recent September that the Professor happened to be the only witness to the very beginning of the Egypt Game. He had been looking for something in a seldom used storeroom at the back of his shop, when a slight noise drew him to a window. He lifted a gunnysack curtain, rubbed a peephole in the thick coating of dirt, and peered through. Outside that particular window was a small storage yard surrounded by a high board fence. It had been years since the Professor had made any use of the area, and the weed-grown yard and open lean-to shed were empty except for a few pieces of forgotten junk. But as the old man peered through his dirty window, two girls were pulling a much smaller boy through a hole in the fence.

The Professor had seen both of the girls before. They were about the same age and size, perhaps eleven or twelve years old. The one who was tugging at the little boy’s leg was thin and palely blond, and her hair was arranged in a straggly pile on the top of her head. Her high cheekbones and short nose were faintly spattered with freckles and there was a strange droopy look to her eyes. The old man recalled that she had been in his store not long before, and along with some other improbable information she had disclosed that her name was April.

The other girl, who had the little boy by the shoulders, was African American, as was the little boy himself. A similarity in their pert features and slender arching eyebrows indicated that they were probably brother and sister. The Professor had seen them pass his store many times and knew that they were residents of the neighborhood.

The fence that surrounded the storage yard was high and strong and topped by strands of barbed wire, but one thin plank had come loose so that it was possible to swing it to one side. Both the girls were very slender and they had apparently squeezed through without much trouble, but the boy was causing a problem. He was only about four years old but he was sturdily built; moreover, he was clutching a large stuffed toy to his chest with both arms. He paid not the slightest attention to the demands of the two girls that he, Turn loose of that thing for just a minute, can’t you? and, Let me hold Security for you just till you get through, Marshall. Marshall remained very calm and patient, but his grip on his toy didn’t relax for a second.

When the little boy and his huge plush octopus at last popped free into the yard, the girls turned to inspect their discovery. Their eyes flew over the broken birdbath, the crumbling statue of Diana the Huntress, and the stack of fancy wooden porch pillars, and came to rest on something in the lean-to shack. It was a cracked and chipped plaster reproduction of the famous bust of Nefertiti. The two girls stared at it for a long breathless moment and then they turned and looked at each other. They didn’t say a word, but with widening eyes and small taut smiles they sent a charge of excitement dancing between them like a crackle of electricity.

The customer, an antique dealer from San Francisco, was stirring restlessly in the main room of the store. Hearing him, the Professor was reminded of his errand. He replaced the sacking curtain and left the storeroom. It was more than an hour later that he remembered the children and returned to the peephole in the dirty window.

There had been some changes made in the storage yard. Some of the ornate old porch pillars had been propped up around the lean-to so that they seemed to be supporting its sagging tin roof; the statue of Diana had been moved into position near this improvised temple; and in the place of honor at the back and center of the shed, the bust of Nefertiti was enthroned in the broken birdbath. The little boy was playing quietly with his octopus on the floor of the shed and the two girls were busily pulling the tall dry weeds that choked the yard, and stacking them in a pile near the fence.

Look, Melanie, the girl named April said. She displayed a prickly bouquet of thistle blossoms.

Neat! Melanie nodded enthusiastically. Lotus blossoms?

April considered her uninviting bouquet with new appreciation. Yeah, she agreed. Lotus blossoms.

Melanie had another inspiration. She stood up, dumping her lap full of weeds, and reached for the blossoms—gingerly because of the prickles. Holding them at arm’s length, she announced dramatically, The Sacred Flower of Egypt. Then she paced with dignity to the birdbath and with a curtsy presented them to Nefertiti.

April had followed, watching approvingly, but now she suddenly objected. No! Like this, she said.

Taking the thistle flowers, she dropped to her knees and bent low before the birdbath. Then she crawled backward out of the lean-to. Neat, Melanie said, and, taking the flowers back, she repeated the ritual, adding another refinement by tapping her forehead to the floor three times. April gave her stamp of approval to this latest innovation by trying it out herself, doing the forehead taps very slowly and dramatically. Then the two girls went back to their weed pulling, leaving the thistles before the altar of Nefertiti.

A few moments later the blond girl sat back suddenly on her heels and clapped a hand to her right eye. When she took it away the Professor, peering through his spy hole, noticed that the eye had lost its strange droopy appearance. Melanie, April said. They’re gone. I’ve lost my eyelashes.

At about that point, a customer, entering the Professor’s store, forced him to leave his vantage point at the dirty window. So he missed the frantic search that followed. He also missed the indignant scolding when the girls discovered that April’s false eye lashes had fallen before the altar of Nefertiti, where Marshall had found them and quietly beautified one of the button eyes of his octopus.

When the Professor finally was free to return to his peephole the children had gone home, leaving the storage yard almost free from weeds, and a thistle blossom offering before the birdbath.

Enter April

HER NAME WAS APRIL HALL, BUT SHE OFTEN CALLED herself April Dawn. Exactly one month before the Egypt Game began in the Professor’s backyard she had come, very reluctantly, to live in the shabby splendor of an old California-Spanish apartment house called the Casa Rosada. She came because she had been sent away by Dorothea, her beautiful and glamorous mother, to live with a grandmother she hardly knew, and who wore her gray hair in a bun on the back of her head. None of April and Dorothea’s Hollywood friends ever had gray hair, except the kind you have on purpose, no matter how old they got otherwise.

It had been on that very first day, early in August, that April and the Professor first met. On that first morning of her new life April had spent half an hour arranging her limp blond hair in a high upsweep, such as Dorothea sometimes wore. It was hard work, much harder than it looked when Dorothea did it. As she pinned and repinned, April told herself with righteous bitterness that Caroline was sure to make her take it all down again anyway, and all her hard work would be for nothing.

But if her grandmother noticed the hairdo, she said nothing about it at the breakfast table. She didn’t even seem to notice how quiet and depressed April was and try to cheer her up with questions and conversation. April decided that Caroline must be the uninterested kind of person who didn’t notice much of anything. Well, that was good. Because, for the short while she was here, April intended to go right on leading the kind of life she was used to, and if Caroline didn’t even notice—well, at least there wouldn’t be any trouble. All through breakfast Caroline went on saying almost nothing, but finally when she was almost through she did say that

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  • (5/5)
    We read this book in school, but I also loved all of Zilpha Keatley-Snyder's work, esp the Great Stanley Kidnapping Case. A few years ago I heard her speak at my public library, and she was just wonderful, very warm and funny.
  • (4/5)
    When April moves in with her grandmother, she meets Melanie and Marshall Ross. April and Melanie become fast friends, discovering a shared delight in reading and imaginative games, and both become fascinated with Ancient Egypt. In a neighbor's abandoned yard, they begin playing the Egypt Game, using their knowledge of Ancient Egypt and imagination to create altars and rituals in an elaborate game. But their play is threatened when a local child is murdered, and there's a possibility that the guilty person is someone they know.I chose this as my read for Banned Books Week, curious to see what sorts of rituals and descriptions might make someone react so strongly as to challenge this book just in the past year. I'd expected a fantasy where the gods came to life, and ancient rituals were described in detail. I'm still somewhat baffled, because what I found was a book steeped in imaginative play that reminded me of the games I used to play with my friends, cousins, and neighbors. In fact, reading the book became more of an experience of walking down memory lane, remembering how we played games based on movies or TV shows that we would stop to discuss who was getting eaten by dinosaurs, or if which dinosaur we were calling on for super powers. The descriptions of the kids' imagination, discussions, and power plays for making game decisions, were quite realistic. I was also surprised that a book written in the 60s has aged extremely well. Though I laughed at some of the kids' expressions ("Sheesh!" reminded me of another friend from my childhood...), for the most part their story could have been one that happened in almost any small town neighborhood. Also, the main characters are white, African American, Asian American, and more, quite a varied cast for its time. I seriously wonder what book the challenger was reading, because it doesn't appear to be at all like the one I read.
  • (3/5)
    Welcome to ancient Egypt, a secret, mystical, magical place where good and evil battle for the lives of the princes/priests/priestesses every day after school. This secret Egypt happens to be in the storage yard of an antique shop. April, Melanie and Marshall create an elaborate game that is as limitless as their imagination (and a few borrowed props). And when their land is invaded by Ken and Toby, they have no choice but to let the invaders in on the magic of the Egypt Game.But not all is fun and games, and the children soon realize that in the world outside, danger lurks and threatens to destroy what they have built.I really enjoyed reading the creative things these kids think of to add to their game, and it definitely is a realistic portrayal of children playing. It was a good read, but it is probably not one that I would read over and over.
  • (3/5)
    Meleanie and April play The Egypt Game with a few friends, but then it gets out of hand.
  • (5/5)
    I picked this up again on a recent trawl through the children's books at my local library. I was looking for something else and got engrossed and suddenly remembered this book. I loved this book when I was a kid. I read it many times because it so captured the kind of kid I was - one whose play depended on books and imagination. I just wish I could have found friends as cool as the ones in this book.Re-reading this as an adult I remember all the reasons I loved it. It's smart and doesn't assume that kids are idiots. It deals with serious themes, but doesn't pound you over the head with them nor does it trivialize them - they are part of the world we all live in.There are so many subtleties in this book - the relationship between April and her Grandmother, the latchkey kid phenomena, the loneliness of the shopkeeper who watches the kids play through his window, the frightening events in the neighborhood. All of these bits of the story are interwoven with the day-to-day lives of the children and their playing at being Egyptian. This book is also effortlessly multicultural and that's pretty wonderful, too.It was so great to revisit this old friend and nice to see how much I still love it after all these years. If you have a kid with imagination this is a wonderful read (good for adults with imagination, too)!
  • (5/5)
    "The Egypt Game" is easily Zilpha Keatley Snyder's most famous work, and there's little mistaking why: it's a fantastic story and expertly written. The book represents the zenith of a number of themes and ideas Snyder has worked with across almost five decades of a career, along with the introduction of a multiculturalism apparent in many of her later stories. This one has probably found its way into school curricula for that reason and two others - the "educational" nature of the children's game, and the rare introduction of a truly dark, dangerous undercurrent in the form of a child's murder - but that doesn't stop it being an extraordinary book on its own merits.This is the book that, more than any other, really quickly demonstrates Snyder's adept skill at understanding the language and methodology of children. You have several very distinct character types - the lonely girl with the selfish front, the practical and considerate girl, the quiet and kind girl, the older-than-his-years toddler, the big jocks - working through problems together, whether those be real or totally imaginary. Snyder never talks down to us as readers (as usual, her lack of need for an overt narrative voice is remarkable), nor does she attempt to tell us how children should behave. She simply reports what they would do, quite naturally, and finds characteristic reasons to encourage or discourage certain behavior. At one point during their Egyptian rituals, one child suggests signing their names in blood, as she had read in "Tom Sawyer." The children abandon the idea not because such an idea might be dangerous or unwise, but because they haven't got a sharp needle to hand - and besides, one of the children feels a bit squeamish over the idea. It's simple, but it indicates an authenticity of audience that Snyder can pull off like few others. She may have been a teacher, but there's nothing of the preachy "teacher" voice in Snyder's work. Of course, more than anything, "The Egypt Game" is simply a great read. I loved it at eight or nine years old and was astonished how well it holds up after all these years. Several times I laughed out loud in the reading (as with Toby's Halloween costume), and more than once I found myself saying, "She managed to do *that* in a children's book?" This is a really wonderful work and deserves to be enjoyed by many more generations of readers, both young and old.
  • (5/5)
    April has a movie star for a mom. When she has to move to a small city with her grandma she is really upset. She makes a friend named Melanie. They only have one thing in common, they love ancient Egypt. They make a game called the Egypt game but mysterious things start to happen. What will happen in the Egypt game? I liked this book because of all the humor and mystery. I actually enjoyed reading some of the words they used. The characters were also very funny. I recommend this book to people who like ancient Egypt and humor in writing.
  • (5/5)
    When Melanie meets April, she sees past her Hollywood cool to April's amazing imagination right away. April finds in Melanie the first real same age friend she's ever had- which almost makes up for the fact that her mother shipped her off to live with her grandmother. She and Melanie, along with Melanie's younger brother, create the land of Egypt out of an abandoned lot. They are joined by three more kids who furthur embellish on their stories. Two mysteries begin to happen- one is that there is a man attacking children in the neighborhood, and the other is that their oracle seems to be working. When April has to come late at night to retrieve her books, she encounters both the man and the source of the working oracle. The professor who owns the lot, it turns out, has been watching them, and he calls for help when she is attacked. In the end the children bring him back to a life, which he only half been living since the death of his wife.
  • (4/5)
    This is another Newberry Honor book that my son and I are reading together. I enjoyed it and thought it was a fun story. It starts out with two girls and their little 4 year old brother that love "Egyptology" so they create their own imaginative game to play in secret. As they bring new kids with new ideas, into their club including even a couple of boys, The Egypt Game evolves and takes on a life of its own.

    The book highlights that its ok for kids of different races to intermix; that boys and girls can also learn and have fun together at the same time without being ridiculed; and that you shouldn't judge people that you don't know, based on rumors, hearsay, looks etc.

    My son hasn't finished reading yet so I don't have his thoughts on the book yet but I'll update later...
  • (3/5)
    I'm not sure if this would appeal to any children. It begins with a full chapter description of a 2nd hand shop & its owner. Snyder carefully includes a racial mix in the main characters.April has been dumped at her grandmother's while her mother is on tour (tho adult readers may feel free to interpret that as "having an affair"). A neighbor girl is compatibly imaginative, they find an abandoned lot & start creating role-playing with Egyptian gods, which is developed over several months. Neighborhood boys barge in, but become intrigued by the role-playing & join. There have been a couple of unsolved deaths of children in town, and the children are inadvertently involved in solving the mystery, as well as giving a new outlook on life to a mourning elderly widow.
  • (4/5)
    Newberry Medal 1968, What a great to get sixth-grade students to connect with the characters. There are twists and suspense in every turn of the page.
  • (4/5)
    Some schoolchildren come upon an empty lot behind a thrift shop where they find an old bust of Nefertiti. This sparks their imagination and they begin pretending they are priests and priestesses of ancient Egypt. There's some mild drama here and there, but mostly it's just about kids playing make believe. It's something I would have liked as a kid, but as an adult it was all nostalgia. My friends and I were obsessed with playing make-believe. We were known to dress up in costumes and pretend to be Greek gods and goddesses, or invent convoluted stories acted out on the playground during recess. I have no idea if a modern kid would like this book, but my inner child sure did.
  • (4/5)
    A ragtag group of children form a secret society, complete with an oracular statue, in an abandoned lot. To this day, I eye abandoned lots in the hopes of having my own Egypt Game.
  • (5/5)
    When April moves in with her grandmother, she expects it will be quite boring - she is afterall, the daughter of a movie star. Soon though, April and her neighbor Melanie are spending most afternoons in a vacant lot playing "Egypt" - they have costumes, names, rituals, and have even involved Melanie's little brother Marshall as the prince of Egypt. Soon their game must stop because a child in the neighborhood has died...can the girls safely go back to Egypt or are they closer to the kidnapper there? I LOVED the imagination in this book - I got very caught up in their rituals and stories and started to wonder if the book was partially fantasy and the girls actually got some of it to work. So clever, but a little scary with the death of a neighborhood child (at the hands of another neighbor).
  • (4/5)
    A few years ago I undertook to read Zilpha Keatley Snyder's entire body of work, motivated in part by the fact that although she is an extraordinarily talented and prolific author, I had only read two of her books as a child. One of these was The Changeling, a book that has relentlessly haunted me from the time I first read it. This was the other.Snyder's fourth book - which won a Newbery Honor - follows the story of two young girls, April and Melanie, whose unlikely friendship leads to the revelation that they are both fascinated by ancient Egypt, and to the creation of "the Egypt Game." Soon they are joined by other children, and the game begins to take on a life of its own. When eerie things begin to happen, the friends find themselves wondering if it is a game at all...I can remember racing through this novel as a child, completely ensnared by Snyder's suspenseful plot; hoping, in fact, for a more supernatural explanation than the one eventually given. I could not have articulated then just why this book (and The Changeling) exercised such a powerful effect upon me. Reading as an adult however, I recognize Snyder's keen understanding of the role of the imagination in the lives of children - the games they create, the "daydreams" that give meaning to their lives. She understands the power of the child's inner life, and is never condescending towards "childish" things. I think I must also have found it refreshing to read a story with such a matter-of-fact interracial friendship, in which race itself was not the predominant concern.Like many of Snyder's early novels, The Egypt Game is illustrated by Alton Raible.
  • (4/5)
    I was expecting this book to be a fantasy of some kind--either straightforward or magical realism. I was actually kind of gratified to see that everything had a logical explanation and that it could easily have actually taken place back in 1968. I do want to acknowledge that parents are way more likely to know where their kids are now and unlikely to let them wander the streets alone, but this is why I tagged it historical fiction. Marking it historical fiction definitely killed me a little bit since the 60s don't seem all that long ago but the attitudes and behaviors are so different then what would happen today that I wanted to acknowledge it could only happen in the past. The kids are really interesting and I loved reading about the crazy ceremonies they came up with. I definitely plan on reading the next one in the series.

  • (2/5)
    So I'm pulling this off of my classroom shelf; 6th grade is definitely as old as one should be to enjoy this one. I had really loved this in 5th grade, as far as I could remember, and I inherited this copy from another teacher in my classroom. After my 5th-grade boy loved Riordan's The Red Pyramid, I thought (but am now smacking myself in the forehead) that he may enjoy reading this with me.

    We're absolutely spoiled. The short, suspenseful, action-packed chapters in a year's worth of Riordan adventures has made everything else boring, perhaps. I hate to admit this, but I kept feeling like NOTHING WAS HAPPENING in this book! NOTHING! We persevered, thinking that surely something will happen soon, and the book IS, after all, OKAY..... Yeah, it's cool how the girls play...but that's about it. Yes, in hindsight, things did happen in this book. A lot, actually. If one were to write a synopsis of the plot, it seems like it would be much more entertaining than it is. I'm undecided as to whether the problem was the writing or pacing in the book, the fact that I'm an adult now, the fact that my son is so definitely not the 5th grade girl that I was, or if the problem was simply that we're accustomed to high-paced, shallow, unrealistic action sequences. He recently read both Freak and Max the Mighty, which are also realistic fiction, and he loved that. So I can't explain why this was such a drag. I'd love to hear the reaction of a girl currently in the fifth grade; does this book still have magic?

  • (3/5)
    Fantastic read with children at bedtime. I love to share Newbery Awards and Honors book with my girls that way. The Gypsy Game is now on our list to read.
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful story for middle grades and advanced younger readers. Superbly written with an authentic voice that reflects the children's perspective. In the narrative, a great deal of imagination on the part of the characters translates into an elaborate game, secret from the adults. The plot is a nifty, natural-teaching moment which engaged readers might find very inspiring for their own purposes.In re-reading this novel (with a 20+ year gap), I was struck by a particularly adult realization: the story never dips into a conversation about the dangers of playing secretively or admonishing the kids about sneaking out at night. I think that's because Snyder wrote the story in 1967, so it's very much a narrative of 'back in the day'. Kids are still loving this tale so I was delighted to find a reprinted copy.
  • (2/5)
    My kids are enjoying this audiobook, but I'm not a fan of the narration. It's too slow and lacking in animation to hold my interest. I thought I didn't like the story, but when left the audio to the kids and started reading the book on my own, I enjoyed it much more. Review of the non-audio book to follow.
  • (5/5)
    I found this book to be hard to get into this time reading it, even though when I read it as a child it felt like a powerful vaccuum sucking me in. I realized by reading this book, that we as adults will have different experiences when we re-read a story we read as a child, but didn't remember the story only the experience of how realistic and lively the story used to be for us. In this way, re-reading this story now helped me connect with what made this book appealing to me as a young reader. I would say the reason I especially liked it was the creative resourceful praxis of the 'game' the characters came up with. As I was growing up, I found myself constantly inventing games that didn't involve going to the store and buying anything. But games similar to the 'Egypt' game, where there were a lot of different players and 'spoken' and 'unspoken' rules, that's why this book is so fun to read for me this time around maybe not first start reading, but the best part for me this time reading the book was after the children invented the Oracle. I remember doing similar things as a child, and it's really a book that encourages the absence from buying into grown up rules and conventions, but making up your own. I liked this book for that reason, more so than the writing style or even the way it was told. It's my opinion that this is why books like this that draw on what activates a young child's imagination are the overall consise appeal in youth. Though, I would say maybe they are less so as popular than when I was a child. I remember when I was growing up and read this book, it spurred for the invention of an elaborate game called 'spies' which was inspired from April and Melanie's original Egypt. In my 'spies' game I had recruits and different spies were different colors, signifying their levels-- it was an interesting game and all was a spin off of reading this book.  That's why I believe books around these kind of imaginative topics are not only quintessential to the development of who is a leader and who is a follower as youths develop, but it also allows for the collaboration of ideas.
  • (4/5)
    The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatly Snyder [possibly one of the most unique authorial names I've come upon in my readings...seriously...Zilpha? Cool!] tells the story of April and Melanie the summer April is sent to live with her grandmother for a while. April's mother is a would-be starlet who decides that it would be best to have April in a stable environment while she builds up her resume--or at least that is what April would have you believe. She is a smart eleven-year-old who can handle grownups with little effort but has issues relating to peers. Melanie, a down-to-earth resident in the same apartment building, is sent to invite her for lunch, and she is unimpressed by the 'Hollywood act' and through just trying to give her a chance, they become fast friends when they discover their shared love of the imagination. It starts with paper families and stories they make up, and progresses through a love of reading into the realm of Egypt. When they find themselves a whole new world in the disused side-yard of a local junk shop, April and Melanie, along with Marshall, Melanie's little brother, and Security, his stuffed octopus, they set about creating their own version of the country. Their strange utopia is threatened, however, when a child in the neighborhood is found, dead, not far away. The girls must survive school, being trapped indoors and the paranoia of their parents while trying to find a way to maintain their country that is further threatened by the perpetual possibility of discovery. Almost an oddity when compared to the jet-propelled childhood of computers and TV, this adventure exists in the pre-internet days. The girls are forced to entertain themselves with books, often non-fiction, and they manage to make the best of it. It is a quiet adventure with little shouting and no explosions, but plenty of humour and a good dose of tension and mystery. I find it amazing when I think about how entangled I feel in the realm of technology and look back even on the days I spent tramping through the woods behind my house to the walking logs and praying that the local skunk population still hadn't discovered the veritable condo park of their hollow bases. Now I know kids who are better on the computer than I could ever hope to be without training. Ah well, this ramble has little point. The Egypt Game: it's a fun story. I'd recommend it more for girls than boys, as the protagonists are in fact girls, though boys do play a role part way through. It feels a bit young for eleven-year-olds, but that may be through the basic vocabulary. I dunno, that would be a more personal preference. 
  • (4/5)
    A young girl, April, moves into a new neighborhood after her actress mother decides to leave her with her grandmother. April finds a kindred spirit in her neighbor Melanie when they realize they are both fascinated by Egyptian culture. They create a game based on their interest and soon other kids join in the fun. All the while a local tragedy has everyone on edge. I think I probably would have loved this one as a kid. Unfortunately I just read it for the first time. I still enjoyed it, but the fantastical elements of creating a world from your imagination wasn’t quite as powerful as an adult. I loved that this story encourages kids to use their imaginations instead of relying only on TV and set games for entertainment. Embracing a different culture and learning about their traditions is a great lesson as well. BOTTOM LINE: A good kids' chapter book with a few scary parts. A great focus on using your imagination.  
  • (4/5)
    This incredible book is about six enthusiastic kids who really enjoy reading anything and everything related to Egypt. It starts off with two main characters named Melanie and April. They first meet when April moves into an apartment building. They then become best friends after they discover they both like Egypt. Second, they start meeting together after school behind a very old antique shop to play a game they created that they call, the “Egypt game”.Melanie’s little brother, Marshall, picks a card that gives him the title of the Pharaoh. Then, whose name is Elizabeth convinces Melanie and April. On Halloween night, the groups of young Egyptologists walk together behind the antique shop to play instead of going Trick-Or-Treating. While they are in the middle of a pretend Egyptian ceremony, the 2 meanest bullies named Toby and Ken discover them and threaten to reveal the girl’s secret game and where they play it to the teachers. Then, Melanie and April propose to Ken and Toby to join in exchange for keeping the secret. This immediately sparks Ken’s interest because he loves Egypt, and he also convinces Toby to agree. There is a professor who works at an antique store. On Christmas Eve, they play the Egypt game behind his store. All the players first meet at April’s house. The professor tells a story about how he has been watching them play over the past year and how he helped Marshall’s stuffed octopus, Security, by leaving him in a dry place when Marshall left it in the backyard a rainy nightI like this book because it is about creative kids using what they like and make making it real. I think that they are very opened minded and very inventive.My favorite character is Marshall because of his sensitive mind. He was concerned and worried about Security when he lost Security behind the shop on the rainy day. Marshall is very disappointed and imagines that Security is going to get wet, get ruined, get sick or even get lost. Even though Security is just a stuffed toy, Marshall is very attached to the toy.I would rate this book 8 out of 10.
  • (3/5)
    An enjoyable story, though I wish I read this at least 20 years earlier. It'd have given my imagination a great boost if I'd read it in my childhood. However, this reminded me of the "pretend games" I myself used to play - apart from the house game where I'd be the mother or the daughter or the sister - especially the one that involved a whole universe of uber-tiny people who lived inside walls and wood (which I imagined to be hollow inside for these people to populate), and one of them, Libu, was my friend.

    I especially liked the ending, even if certain parts of the book were hardly extraordinary.
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    April comes to live with her dead father's mother, Caroline. April's mother, Dorothea, lived in Hollywood and was an aspiring actress with a boyfriend and not much time for an 11 year old child. April is somewhat of a fish out of water until she meets Melanie, a girl her age who lives in the same apartment complex. Between the two girls the Egypt game begins and they gather things to play it in the lot next to the A-Z junk shop run by a mysterious old man called the Professor. Wherever Melanie goes she must take her four year old brother, Marshall. What I found terribly interesting was not only how these three, then four, then five children make up and played such a fascinating game given just their own imaginations and the things that came to hand, but also how the author wove into the story the very serious and politically loaded subject of the murder of a child. Just so you don't put the book down and not pick it up after that statement, none of the main characters in the story are the child that dies, but the murderer is a person who lives in the neighborhood. The author handles this very loaded subject very adroitly without losing the charm and humor of the main story...nice. It is well worth reading

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    I've been drawn to this author for a while - her stories are classics in the children book aisle, and her plots intrigue me. This year, I finally read two of her stories. The first was a strip book I've been sitting on since I worked in the book store years ago: The Runaways, a more serious realistic fiction depicting the lives of three young children living in a small desert town who are unhappy with their situations. She incorporated humor and dealt with a lot of heavy emotions using a light touch that rendered them accessible to children, and the writing was finely crafted. However, I was more excited to read her stories that incorporated a little supernatural suspense, as many of her Newbery awards and honors do, so I was excited to start this book, The Egypt Game.The book follows the adventure of two girls, April and Melanie, who create the Egypt game. At first glance, they appear as opposite as can be: Melanie is an outgoing and amiable girl, good at getting along with everyone, and April distances herself from others with her arrogant airs and outrageous stories. Melanie has had a typical childhood, with two caring parents and a younger brother, settled in a neighborhood where she has lived her whole life. April, on the other hand, lived in California with her aspiring-actress mother, who was so focused on her own career and her desires that she often neglected her parenting and treated April more like a sister than a daughter. Despite their differences, they quickly learn that they have one important characteristic in common - they both prefer playing creative games made up in their mind than outdoor games or board games or school games. Bound by this shared interest, they become fast friends. One day, as they discuss their fascination with Ancient Egypt and old artifacts, they decide to reenact a ceremony from that culture, and the Egypt game is born. As time passes, the game evolves, with more roles for the girls to play, fake gods and goddesses borrowed from Egypt's religions, and lots of ceremonies and secret languages to create and enact. They incorporate Marshall, Melanie's younger brother, into the games from the start, so he can play a child Pharaoh. Later, they invite a new friend, Elizabeth, who moves into their apartment complex, and then two boys from school who find their secret hideout where all the Egypt games take place.The Egypt game becomes more important for the children as the real world around them darkens. A young girl is murdered, in the same fashion as a child was murdered not long ago in the past, and the town knows that they have a serial killer of children on their hands. Children are kept indoors and the streets are silenced. Melanie and April focus on the game instead of the new rules and restrictions, but even in the game, events are turning strange as the pretend oracle starts to accurately predict the future, building up to a climax that resolves all the mysteries of the book. As with the first book I read by Snyder, the author deftly handles mature topics, such as the fear engendered by violence, with just the right balance of enough information and not too much. Children need to learn about matters both serious and light, and it is important to address them in a way appropriate for their age. I think Snyder is a master at maintaining this fine balance. She writes children's stories with integrity and finesse.In addition, her characters are fully realized girls and boys that embody child-like thoughts, actions, and desires. They are complex characters who evolve as the story progresses. I loved every kid in this book, and wished I could be friends with them when I was a child. The plot builds up naturally and reads quickly. It's a clever story about inventive children - and the Egypt game is a fascinating concept that they create - that will appeal to children and adults.

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  • (5/5)
    This one was one of my favorite books when I was younger. I remember reading it in the 6th grade with one of my best friends. We were already obsessed with Egypt and this just added to our repertoire of games to be played. That is until our mothers found out about the game and were certain that we were worshiping ancient deities...The book was just as I had remembered it, amazing. It still held my attention and still made me think fondly of my own adventure *in* Egypt. I learned first hand about stranger danger from this book and why you shouldn't go off with strangers. I remember my mother always telling me to not talk to strangers and such because it was bad, but she never explained to me why it was bad, I mean I had an idea but it was so foreign. However when I read this book I saw that there are people who are just sick and who are out to hurt kids. I learned about friendships and how sometimes, if you're lucky, you will have a friend who is a weird as you. And that sometimes the people who you initially didn't like may come around later. I think I learned a lot of valuable life lessons from this book by accident. So for that it was always remain one of my all time favorites!
  • (1/5)
  • (5/5)
    Pure brilliance. This book is a must read for absolutely everyone. I have read it again and again without ever getting tired of it.