Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ghosts of the Nile

Ghosts of the Nile

Cheryl Harness
Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010   ISBN: 978-1442422001

Zachary’s Great-Aunt Allie has asked him to go to the museum with her to see the new “Egypt of the Pharaohs” exhibit. He isn’t too keen, but he is willing to humour the old lady, who does know an enormous amount about the ancient Egyptians. What she wishes more than anything is to be able to see Egypt as it once was. Of course this is impossible – or is it?

It turns out that time travel is not impossible after all. Great-Aunt Allie’s much beloved scarab ends up taking her and Zachary all the way back to the days when the Egyptians were a powerful and highly creative ancient civilization. During the journey back through time Zachary somehow loses his aunt. Thankfully an extraordinary cat, Khi, decides to serve as Zachary’s guide. Somewhere is the ancient world Zachary’s aunt is no doubt having the time of her life, but Zachary is determined to find his wayward relative.

As they look for Great-Aunt Allie, Khi shows Zachary some of the things that make the cat’s world so unique. The cat shows Zachary how a pyramid is built, and how the body of a dead person is turned into a mummy. At last Zachary finds his great-aunt and the two of them travel on a boat on the River Nile, they see the great Queen Cleopatra, and they explore an Egyptian village.

By combining a magical story with lashings of historical information, Cheryl Harness has created a book that offers readers food for the imagination and that also excites that place in us that finds history fascinating. Illustrations full of details will keep readers busy for hours.

The author has included a timeline of the kings of Egypt, an “Egyptionary”, and an “Egyptology” which includes a map and timeline of the ancient civilizations of the world.