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The Egypt Game

Last updated Monday, December 27, 2010

Author: Zilpha Keatley Snyder Keatley Snyder
Illustrator: Alton Raible Raible
Date of Publication: 2007
ISBN: 1416960651
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2010

Synopsis: The first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she's not sure they have anything in common. One look at April's upswept hair, false eyelashes, and ragged fox-fur collar is enough to convince Melanie that April won't have an easy time fitting in with the sixth graders at Wilson School.

But April has some surprises in store, like the fact that she enjoys reading and playing imagination games just as much as Melanie does. The two even discover that they both love anything to do with ancient Egypt! In a storage yard behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio Shop, Melanie and April start to play the Egypt Game.

Before long, there are six Egyptians instead of two. They meet to wear costumes, hold ceremonies, and work on their secret code. Everyone enjoys the game until strange things begin to happen. Has the Egypt Game gone too far?

With a touch of charm and a whole lot of imagination, Zilpha Keatley Snyder transforms an abandoned junkyard into an Egyptian court in this Newbery Honor-winning mystery.

Note to readers:
•  This book was written in 1967. One of the main characters is African American but they describe her as Negro. The word is used only twice in the first four chapters. It is suggested that you use “African American” in place of “Negro”. If you choose to read the book as written, you may want to discuss the historical use and changes of terms over the years.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  --Where is Egypt? (Use the map or globe in the room to show them where it is)
--Look at the cover carefully, does this book take place in ancient times or present day? (Notice the parking meters, the Transamerica building from San Francisco; the Victorian House)
--What are Egyptians know for? (The great Pyramids, King Tut)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  --What are antiques and are they valuable? (Antiques are items created or sold 100 or more years ago)
--Do you have any at home? What do you own that may be an antique 100 years from now? --Who is Nefertiti? (She was born around 1370 BC and was married to a Pharaoh (King of Egypt). She was King Tut’s mother in law and a statute/bust of her is at the Berlin Museum) --What kind of games do you like to play?
--Do you play imagining games? Can you imagine what something looks like by reading the words?

Craft ideas:
•  -Make a headdress, arm bands and eye mask of an ancient Egyptian. For the headdress, take a piece of construction paper and place it on the table “hot dog” style—the long way. Decorate it with Egyptian hieroglyphics. When done decorating, take the two top corners and join them in the back—staple or tape the top corners together. This is your headdress. For the arm bands, take another piece of construction paper and cut it into 4 long strips. Decorate each strip with hieroglyphics and place the around your upper arm. Secure tightly with tape. For the eye mask, take a black piece of construction paper and cut in half “hot dog” style—long way. Each piece will make 2 eye masks—Egyptians wore heavy eye liner which these masks will imitate Cut out large almond shape eye holes. Secure them with tape or string.

Special activities:
•  -This is Reading to Kids, College Spirit Day. Have the kids make a college spirit flag or megaphone from construction paper. Have them decorate the flags or megaphone with college letters or mascots.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!