Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Curse of King Tut’s Mummy

The Curse of King Tut’s Mummy

Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Illustrator:  Jim Nelson 
For ages 6 to 9
Random House, 2007   ISBN: 978-0375838620

Like his father, Samuel Carter, Howard Carter was a good artist, so when he was old enough and when it was time for him get a job Howard managed to get work doing portraits for people. He did not care for the work much so he was delighted when he was offered the position of artist in residence for the Egypt Exploration Fund team. He would be going to Egypt to draw what the archeologists found in the digs that they would be working on.

Carter painted tomb art and artifacts for seven years and he learned a great deal in that time. He also got to observe the working methods of Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, an archeologist who was very careful in his methods and who took care to preserve sites rather than just tear them apart for finds. In short Petrie was a scientist and Carter was determined to be a scientist like him and not just a treasure hunter.

Carter was especially interested in the Valley of the Kings, a valley where many kings, queens, and royal family members of ancient Egypt had been buried. Over time many of the tombs had been found by robbers and had been looted, but Carter was sure that at least one tomb had not yet been found. When he was given the job of being Chief Inspector of Antiquities in Upper Egypt one of Carter?s jobs was to make sure that the tombs in the Valley of the Kings were well looked after and protected.

Carter lost his job and went back to painting and just when it looked as if he would have to leave Egypt he was introduced to Lord Carvnarvon, a rich English aristocrat who was fascinated by the history of ancient Egypt. Together Carnarvon and Carter decided to search the Valley of the Kings for the tomb that Carter was sure was there. Indeed Carter even thought he knew which king was buried in the valley, a young man called Tutankhamun.

After much detective work Carter did indeed find King Tutankhamun?s tomb and it was perfect, untouched, and filled with riches and treasures unlike anything anyone had ever seen before. But when bad things began to happen to the people who had helped to open the tomb, people began to say that the tomb had been cursed. Was it possible that someone had indeed put a curse on the tomb of the boy king? Had Carter made a terrible mistake opening that tomb in the first place?

Not only does this author tell the fascinating story about one of the greatest archeological finds of all time, but she also provides her readers will lots of background information about ancient Egyptian history, the funeral rites of the tomb builders, the scene in Egypt at the time of Carter's stay there, and much more. Readers are given a great deal of information in a highly entertaining and very well written package.

This is one of the titles in the excellent "True Stories - Stepping Stones" series of chapter books.