Michael Klein's Reviews > The Egypt Game

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
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Aug 03, 2008

it was ok
Read in August, 2008

A Newbury Honor Book? Really? While this was an interesting story, I found the children to not behave in the manner of actual children - speaking wisely beyond their years and with adult emotions - emotions we might like them to have, but that for the most part, they do not.

Interesting to note that the NY Times Book Review (quoted on the inside cover) says the author "[presents:] contemporary children as they talk and act on their own." Yeah, I don't think so.

The story, whlie interesting, is somewhat choppy. Months are covered by a single line, then many paragraphs describe a walk of a few blocks. Oh, and in the middle there is casually mentioned a child murderer in the neighborhood. A what?! Yeah, that's what I thought too. And then that plot goes away for 1/4 of the novel until returning at the end.

I'd say it's better than many YA novels I've read recently, but it was still uneven.
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Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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Bobby Bermea I disagree. I first read the book as a kid and I can say that once the child murderer was introduced, he never left my consciousness. And the fact of him alters the plot considerably; it's why Egypt becomes off-limits, which leads to the wonderful scene on Halloween, which leads to the involvement of the other kids.

As for the behavior of the kids, I always felt, as a child, that I was more together, more observant and more able to draw the right conclusions and act on them from the things I observed, than the adults in my life gave me credit for. I believe the book is written from that perspective and the kids behave very accordingly. Kids always grow up faster depending upon what is being demanded of them.


Alissa Bach I agree. The kids in the book don't behave or speak like the kids of today. However, one must consider that this book was published in the late 1960s, and the world was a different place than it is today. If I were a kid reading this story, I likely would find it difficut to relate to the characters (and probably have lots of questions for my parents--or grandma and grandpa?--about the time period). However, the story itself is imaginative. And that's something any kid can relate to. That is, any kid who hasn't had his or her imagination destroyed by video games and/or television-for-babysitter.


Adiakatarina I think you've been hanging around the wrong kids, Sir.


Jackie I couldn't agree with Michael more.


712Jeremy This book is just awful, I fell asleep on page 22


message 6: by Michelle (last edited May 04, 2012 09:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Michelle I couldn't disagree with you more, sir. I read this book when I was only 9 years old and it took me about two days to do so. I could not put it down. I was a little nerdy in that I always had an interest in ancient history, particularly Egypt, and I still do. I also loved playing the most imaginative games inside and outside my home.

I thrived for adventure and to explore, and my siblings as well as the kids in my neighborhood who were just as adventurous as me happily came along, whether we were playing in the woods in the summer or in the snow in the winter. Those are some of my best memories, and our "story lines" were certainly as complex as those in this novel. On rainy days, when I wasn't reading, I'd write endless stories myself. People do not give children credit, but I had many struggles of my own growing up that I was forced to overcome. When a child has to, (and when they are given the opportunity to use their imagination) they can be just as intellectual as an adult with twice the imagination.

And this video game nonsense is bull. the kids who are addicted to video games now were the antisocial ones in the 60's and they still are today but at least they have something to occupy their time. I am only 19 years old so trust me, I've owned and played my fair share of games but nothing beat my adventures until I finally did outgrow them and I see the same in the children I babysit for today. You could call me an exception and that I was nerdier than some kids, and in some ways that was true, but every kid has that side of them and it will come out if they are surrounded by the right people. My friends were not nerds; I am an athlete, I do well in college, and I go out on the weekends, but I had a love for adventure growing up and though I may have had more of a love than some, I certainly was not the only one.

I still love adventure and reading today, and when I get bored, I proudly pick up one of my favorite Harry Potter's over some corny teenage novel about over coming fake adversity (I've had enough of the real stuff in my own life, thank you very much), or falling in love with vampires, or being more immature and whiny than the children in the wonderful novel, "The Egypt Game." This novel was an escape and it was a book that let me be the adventurer I wanted to be even on a rainy day. I loved and related to it as a nine year old and I always will.


Sheri Bouvier So agree. My children disliked it...could not relate and were uninterested even as we were studying Egyptian history. Did not seem to have Newbery book qualities.


Christine Originally published in 1967...


Shalanna Collins We old fossils loved the book back in 1967 when it was first read to us. I feel sadness that all the books on the Newbery shelf at that time would probably not hook today's children. They were wonderful books for us and we really connected and learned to see the world differently.


Houston Moore I totally agree with Michelle


message 11: by Noh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Noh kids are different. just like adults, some are more mature than others.


Roxane I completely disagree. Children are capable of having intelligent conversations. Why do you think the book was so loved? I have a daughter and when she was a child, she carried in intelligent conversations. When you talk to your kids like babies, that's what you get in return. Gibberish. This book may be old by some people's standards but it still have relevant issues like being raised by your grandmother when your own mother is irresponsible and child murder. It's a great book!


message 13: by Greta (last edited Dec 15, 2015 09:03PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Greta I TOTALLY AGREE! I am April and Melanie's age and I have never heard anyone my age actually talk like them. I found this book boring and I only read it because it was a class book everyone had to read. This book was also WAY TOO EASY! However, I wouldn't even consider this YA, more like early reader (like ages 6 to 9)


message 14: by Greta (new) - rated it 1 star

Greta 712Jeremy wrote: "This book is just awful, I fell asleep on page 22"

I fell asleep on page 1 literally. In class. ;)


Brianna Brown It must depend on the kind of children you are used to. I read this book as a child, and the murder wasn't a big deal. I grew up in a big city, where I was told I would be brutally murdered if I wandered too far. Like the Egypt kids, I ignored my parents' advice and went where I liked. Pretend games like the Egypt game were my favorite, and I related to the children in the book well. They seemed more normal to me than most kids at school, but I didn't have a lot of friends. Again, I think it's more about the kind of audience the book was written for. Some children have experiences that cause them to grow up sooner than others, perhaps. Anyway, it's clear that many kids and adults love this book, while others don't. That's the wonderful thing about people, and books.


Brianna Brown It must depend on the kind of children you are used to. I read this book as a child, and the murder wasn't a big deal. I grew up in a big city, where I was told I would be brutally murdered if I wandered too far. Like the Egypt kids, I ignored my parents' advice and went where I liked. Pretend games like the Egypt game were my favorite, and I related to the children in the book well. They seemed more normal to me than most kids at school, but I didn't have a lot of friends. Again, I think it's more about the kind of audience the book was written for. Some children have experiences that cause them to grow up sooner than others, perhaps. Anyway, it's clear that many kids and adults love this book, while others don't. That's the wonderful thing about people, and books.


message 17: by Jessica (new)

Jessica This was one of my most loved books as a child. I think I first read it around age 9 and read it over and over again.
Now my daughter is reading it with me for the first time, and she is asking to read it. Very into it so far. She's 8.


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