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Lights on the Nile

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  224 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Kepi is a young girl in ancient Egypt, content to stay home with her family, helping her father, who was wounded in the construction of a pyramid for the cruel pharaoh Khufu. But that was before she and her pet baboon, Babu, were kidnapped and held captive on a boat bound for the capital city, Ineb Hedj. And when Kepi and Babu are separated, she knows she has only one choi ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Miss Amanda
gr 4-8 267 pgs

around 2530 BC, Ancient Egypt. Her family is always warning Kepi to think before she acts, but Kepi just can't help herself. Because of her impulsiveness, Kepi ends up being kidnapped. At first, Kepi is desperate to return home. But then Kepi decides that once they reach Ineb Hedj, the capital, she might have an opportunity to do some good. Her father is unable to work since he was injured while helping to build the pharaoh's pyramid. Kepi is sure that if she can just talk to the p
Nov 13, 2011 Rosa rated it liked it
Kepi is a young Egyptian girl whose father was injured in the construction of the pyramids. Her father has plans to get their family back on track and she and her pet baboon Babu have a part in these plans. Unfortunately Babu is stolen and when Kepi goes after him, she too is kidnapped. When her and Babu are separated, she knows that she must go to the capital city to retrieve him and find a way to speak with the pharaoh about the injustice of what happens to those who get injured or killed work ...more
A story set in the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, beginning quite strongly with the story of Kepi and her family, struggling since the accident that befell her father while working for the Pharaoh ferrying the granite blocks up the river for a new great pyramid. He cannot work, and decides that he will become a bread baker and experiment with new kinds of breads. He sends Kepi and her pet baby baboon out to gather herbs for the dough, but they are kidnapped because Babu is a valuable animal who w ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Sep 09, 2011 Margo Tanenbaum rated it liked it
Shelves: ancient, adventure
Ancient Egypt continues to hold great appeal for young and old, and even makes the best-seller lists (see Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra: A Life, for example). Award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli's newest book, suitable for elementary school readers, is set during that fascinating period, and tells the story of Kepi, a young girl living around 2530 BCE. Kepi's father, a laborer, has been wounded during the construction of a pyramid for Pharaoh Khufu. Kepi's life changes dramatically when she, along w ...more
Stephanie Jobe
Oct 08, 2012 Stephanie Jobe rated it liked it
Kepi's name means tempest. She does everything passionately and with the best intentions from rescuing Babu, the baby baboon to her journey up the river on a mission to help Babu and speak to the pharaoh on behalf of her father wounded working on the pyramids. At first her only friends are animals, but then it begins to seem that her prayers are being answered just not necessarily as she expected. She will make friends but this journey will end far from how she expected.

About the cover: Kepi loo
Nov 24, 2013 Nicole rated it really liked it
Shelves: zaynab, kayla
It’s probable that Donna Jo Napoli’s books first sparked my interest in historical fiction with “Beast” being the most memorable. I am always confident when picking up a book from this author that the material is well researched – yet still suspenseful and not bogged down by someone trying too hard to prove they are knowledgeable on the subject. It’s interesting as I haven’t read a book by her (or anyone) since before I had my daughter, who is now almost 18 months. My perspective and the charact ...more
Jeni Enjaian
I enjoyed this book more than some of Napoli's other books but this one felt much too similar to North in terms of basic formatting. (Obviously, North was set in North America with a black boy bent on Arctic exploration and this book is set in ancient Africa with an Egyptian girl kidnapped by a man she thought her friend.) That being said, I have a fondness for Egyptian literature of this nature so that propped up my review a little bit. Napoli creates a solid, interesting narrative. However, so ...more
Addison Children
Feb 10, 2014 Addison Children rated it liked it
Shelves: chapter-books
I enjoyed it as historical fiction set in ancient Egypt. Kepi finds a baby baboon and is training it to help her with her daily tasks. The baboon is kidnapped and she sets off after it. Then she is also kidnapped. She eventually escapes and meets up with some other orphan/slave children. I thought the end was weak, when instead of solving our problems in the real world, the author (spoiler alert) resorted to fairies.
Nov 07, 2011 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: action-adventure
Lights on the Nile takes place in ancient Egypt and it's about a girl named Kepi who lives her life as a farmer.After her father loses his foot in a under a huge slab of limestone while helping to build a pyramid she vows to tell the pharaoh to treat his workers better. One day she gets kidnapped by a guy named Menes who takes her far away from her village to sell her and her baboon to a temple she sees her chance to talk to the pharaoh but during the trip there they abandon her in a village. No ...more
Apr 28, 2015 Jen rated it did not like it
My 10 yo was frightened by this book. It wasn't super graphic, but there were a lot of scary things and she had nightmares. I read it as well and I'll just say that the book jacket implies this is a pretty kid friendly story and in reality it's not as gentle as the book jacket implies.
Kepi's father was maimed working on the pyramid, and now must somehow support their family without a leg. She is determined to talk to the Pharoah himself and see that justice is done. When her pet baby baboon is stolen, and the chase leads her far from home, her wish just may come true. She gets Babu (the baboon) back, but it doesn't help much, because then they are kidnapped together. Kepi journies to the capital city and ultimately to her destiny, as the Egyptian gods she has been praying to ...more
Jul 07, 2013 Christy rated it really liked it
Kepi is a young girl in ancient Egypt, content to stay home with her family, helping her father, who was wounded in the construction of a pyramid for the cruel pharaoh Khufu. But that was before she and her pet baboon, Babu, were kidnapped and held captive on a boat bound for the capital city, Ineb Hedj. And when Kepi and Babu are separated, she knows she has only one choice: to make her way to the capital on her own, rescue Babu, and find a way to appeal to the pharaoh. Khufu is rich and powerf ...more
Joanne Zienty
Apr 23, 2012 Joanne Zienty rated it did not like it
Shelves: children-fiction
The author writes 240+ pages of realistic fiction concerning a young Egyptian girl's adventures during the era of the Pharaoh Khufu and the building of the Great Pyramid, some it gory, most of it immersed in the details of life over 4,500 years ago. Kepi rescues an orphaned baby baboon, loses him to thieves, sets out to retrieve him, is kidnapped to be sold into slavery, journeys to the greatest city in Egypt and protests the injustice of the Pharaoh's policies to his face. Then, out of the blue ...more
Kim Gontarz
Great story of a young girl in ancient Egypt who goes on some unusual adventures.
Aug 22, 2015 Hayley rated it really liked it
A very well written book. I loved it!
Feb 15, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: ysd
Want to know what it might have been like to live in Egypt circa 2550 BCE, when the greatest pyramid was being built? Seen through the eyes of a young girl, Egypt is a place of alternating delights and despair. Fortunately, she has the strength of will to survive despite challenges, and there's a hugely satisfying twist at the end. Also nice to know that Rick Riordan is not the only writer who can make Egyptian gods and goddesses come alive!
Nov 03, 2015 Minna rated it liked it
A strong start, an interesting (if disjointed) middle, but a weak end. This was definitely a low to middle grade story; if I had to guess I'd peg the appropriate readership age at 3-5th grade. I really appreciated the authenticity of the ancient Egyptian setting, and Kepi is a strong character. I just wish that the story had ended... otherwise, I guess.
Izel Zamora
Sep 19, 2012 Izel Zamora rated it really liked it
This book is a very full of suspense . Kepi and her three friends end up as fairies for the Egyptian goddess Hathor . While in the mean time her parents and sister are becoming wealthier by selling and trading herb bread for items , or in exchange for the trader working their land for them.
Sep 16, 2011 Paige rated it it was ok
Really more of a 2.5. Napoli is one of my favorite YA authors, and I usually love her "retellings" of legends and fairytales, but this one reaaaally didn't do it for me. The "fantasy" part didn't come in until the last five pages or so, and everything before that was, honestly, kind of boring.
Renee Hall
Oct 22, 2013 Renee Hall rated it it was ok
An enjoyable read, though the fantasy element felt tacked on to the last couple of chapters, and it was somewhat of a jarring transition, with the rest of the book having been essentially written as straight-ahead historical fiction. Good, but I wouldn't count it among Napoli's best.
Kayla Edwards
May 20, 2015 Kayla Edwards rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens-novels
I'm giving this one three stars because, up until the very end, I was enjoying the book. Without going into detail to avoid spoilers, the ending almost came out of nowhere; not the direction the book felt like it was heading in. However, until the end, I enjoyed the storyline.
Dec 20, 2011 Kristy rated it it was ok
I really had to push through this book. It lost steam for me, but I did care about the character and wanted to see her safely home. I agree with other reviewers that the feri-element kind of comes out of nowhere. Parts were enjoyable though and it was well-researched.
Napoli's strength is depicting life in other cultures in a historical setting and bringing fairy tales to life in new stories. Here she tells a story of early Egypt and the creating of fairies. It is a good talke of friendship for the middle grades. Gr. 3-5.
Jun 19, 2012 Kelly rated it liked it
Very interesting tale of kidnapping in early Egypt. This historical books turn fantasy at the very end to describe the existence of fairies. To say this is a tale of fairies is very misleading.
Mar 11, 2012 April rated it liked it
This was different from other books I've read from Donna Jo Napoli. There was too much build up to the end which I was totally thrown off by. Read the author's note at the end.
Jun 17, 2012 Rachel rated it liked it
Not my favorite of Donna Jo Napoli's books, but then, it seemed to be aimed at a younger audience than the others. I still marvel at the depth and believability of her worlds.
Britt, Book Habitue
Jun 20, 2013 Britt, Book Habitue rated it liked it
3.5 stars
This wasn't what I expected, but it was pretty good.
The cover art is kind of misleading, I think.
Jun 11, 2012 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-vrc
It read like 5 (give or take) different books all rolled into one. Very hard for me to follow.
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From her website:

Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction.

Donna Jo has five children. She dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist. She loves to garden and bake bread.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to
More about Donna Jo Napoli...

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