egyptstories.jpgI got this Stories from Ancient Egypt book at the British Museum a number of years ago, and while we read a couple of the stories a year or two ago, Mika is only now (at almost 8 yo) getting really into it. She’s enjoying the stories, though not immensely. Even though they are not very long, she sort of grows bored with them by the middle.
I think the problem is twofold. The main one is that they are not told in the most interesting manner. The author, Joyce A. Tyldesley, is an Egyptologist – and while she has penned many pop-books on Ancient Egyptian subjects, writing for children requires different skills. The language, in particular, is sort of dry. The other problem is that, IMHO, Ancient Egyptian literature is not particularly compelling. As a student, I particularly enjoyed the Tale of the Two Brothers, in particular for its similarities with the much later story of Joseph from the Bible. I also liked the intriguing harem conspiracy, but looking through my Lichtheim books, I can’t find it – so I’m not sure where I read it. But really, most stories are not that great.
That said, I’m glad I have one book of Ancient Egyptian stories to tell my daughter (I’m sure she would not enjoy my reading directly from Lichtheim). One word of warning, while the stories are dumb down for the kids, and sexual contents are cleaned up, there is a still a fair amount of violence to this book. The book includes its version of the book of the heavenly cow (or the “holy cow”, as my friend Lola and I liked to call it), in which the goddess Hathor grows bloodthirsty and kills a large part of mankind. That may be a bit too scary for younger kids.
As an aside, I’m planning to get the book Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green (who’s written a bunch of children version of ancient stories/myths). The book is just $5 on Amazon and it gets pretty good reviews – plus it has some stories not present in the book I have.