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Editor’s Note

“Beloved Children’s Author...”

Beloved author Zilpha Keatley Snyder was known for her imaginative and charming children’s mysteries. This Newbery Award-winning classic is emblematic of that style: a funny, suspenseful, and captivating tale of friendship, and the power of imagination.
Scribd Editor
The first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she’s not sure they have anything in common. But she soon discovers that they both love anything to do with ancient Egypt. When they stumble upon a deserted storage yard, Melanie and April decide it’s the perfect spot for the Egypt Game. Before long there are six Egyptians, and they all meet to wear costumes, hold ceremonies, and work on their secret code. Everyone thinks it’s just a game until strange things start happening. Has the Egypt Game gone too far?

Topics: Friendship, Magic, Childhood, Games, Mythology, Coming of Age, Adventurous, Suspenseful, Magical Realism, and Series

Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers on
ISBN: 9781439132029
List price: $6.99
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    We read this book in school, but I also loved all of Zilpha Keatley-Snyder's work, esp the Great Stanley Kidnapping Case. A few years ago I heard her speak at my public library, and she was just wonderful, very warm and funny.more
    This one was one of my favorite books when I was younger. I remember reading it in the 6th grade with one of my best friends. We were already obsessed with Egypt and this just added to our repertoire of games to be played. That is until our mothers found out about the game and were certain that we were worshiping ancient deities...The book was just as I had remembered it, amazing. It still held my attention and still made me think fondly of my own adventure *in* Egypt. I learned first hand about stranger danger from this book and why you shouldn't go off with strangers. I remember my mother always telling me to not talk to strangers and such because it was bad, but she never explained to me why it was bad, I mean I had an idea but it was so foreign. However when I read this book I saw that there are people who are just sick and who are out to hurt kids. I learned about friendships and how sometimes, if you're lucky, you will have a friend who is a weird as you. And that sometimes the people who you initially didn't like may come around later. I think I learned a lot of valuable life lessons from this book by accident. So for that it was always remain one of my all time favorites!more
    I've been drawn to this author for a while - her stories are classics in the children book aisle, and her plots intrigue me. This year, I finally read two of her stories. The first was a strip book I've been sitting on since I worked in the book store years ago: The Runaways, a more serious realistic fiction depicting the lives of three young children living in a small desert town who are unhappy with their situations. She incorporated humor and dealt with a lot of heavy emotions using a light touch that rendered them accessible to children, and the writing was finely crafted. However, I was more excited to read her stories that incorporated a little supernatural suspense, as many of her Newbery awards and honors do, so I was excited to start this book, The Egypt Game.The book follows the adventure of two girls, April and Melanie, who create the Egypt game. At first glance, they appear as opposite as can be: Melanie is an outgoing and amiable girl, good at getting along with everyone, and April distances herself from others with her arrogant airs and outrageous stories. Melanie has had a typical childhood, with two caring parents and a younger brother, settled in a neighborhood where she has lived her whole life. April, on the other hand, lived in California with her aspiring-actress mother, who was so focused on her own career and her desires that she often neglected her parenting and treated April more like a sister than a daughter. Despite their differences, they quickly learn that they have one important characteristic in common - they both prefer playing creative games made up in their mind than outdoor games or board games or school games. Bound by this shared interest, they become fast friends. One day, as they discuss their fascination with Ancient Egypt and old artifacts, they decide to reenact a ceremony from that culture, and the Egypt game is born. As time passes, the game evolves, with more roles for the girls to play, fake gods and goddesses borrowed from Egypt's religions, and lots of ceremonies and secret languages to create and enact. They incorporate Marshall, Melanie's younger brother, into the games from the start, so he can play a child Pharaoh. Later, they invite a new friend, Elizabeth, who moves into their apartment complex, and then two boys from school who find their secret hideout where all the Egypt games take place.The Egypt game becomes more important for the children as the real world around them darkens. A young girl is murdered, in the same fashion as a child was murdered not long ago in the past, and the town knows that they have a serial killer of children on their hands. Children are kept indoors and the streets are silenced. Melanie and April focus on the game instead of the new rules and restrictions, but even in the game, events are turning strange as the pretend oracle starts to accurately predict the future, building up to a climax that resolves all the mysteries of the book. As with the first book I read by Snyder, the author deftly handles mature topics, such as the fear engendered by violence, with just the right balance of enough information and not too much. Children need to learn about matters both serious and light, and it is important to address them in a way appropriate for their age. I think Snyder is a master at maintaining this fine balance. She writes children's stories with integrity and finesse.In addition, her characters are fully realized girls and boys that embody child-like thoughts, actions, and desires. They are complex characters who evolve as the story progresses. I loved every kid in this book, and wished I could be friends with them when I was a child. The plot builds up naturally and reads quickly. It's a clever story about inventive children - and the Egypt game is a fascinating concept that they create - that will appeal to children and adults.more
    Read all 15 reviews

    Reviews

    We read this book in school, but I also loved all of Zilpha Keatley-Snyder's work, esp the Great Stanley Kidnapping Case. A few years ago I heard her speak at my public library, and she was just wonderful, very warm and funny.more
    This one was one of my favorite books when I was younger. I remember reading it in the 6th grade with one of my best friends. We were already obsessed with Egypt and this just added to our repertoire of games to be played. That is until our mothers found out about the game and were certain that we were worshiping ancient deities...The book was just as I had remembered it, amazing. It still held my attention and still made me think fondly of my own adventure *in* Egypt. I learned first hand about stranger danger from this book and why you shouldn't go off with strangers. I remember my mother always telling me to not talk to strangers and such because it was bad, but she never explained to me why it was bad, I mean I had an idea but it was so foreign. However when I read this book I saw that there are people who are just sick and who are out to hurt kids. I learned about friendships and how sometimes, if you're lucky, you will have a friend who is a weird as you. And that sometimes the people who you initially didn't like may come around later. I think I learned a lot of valuable life lessons from this book by accident. So for that it was always remain one of my all time favorites!more
    I've been drawn to this author for a while - her stories are classics in the children book aisle, and her plots intrigue me. This year, I finally read two of her stories. The first was a strip book I've been sitting on since I worked in the book store years ago: The Runaways, a more serious realistic fiction depicting the lives of three young children living in a small desert town who are unhappy with their situations. She incorporated humor and dealt with a lot of heavy emotions using a light touch that rendered them accessible to children, and the writing was finely crafted. However, I was more excited to read her stories that incorporated a little supernatural suspense, as many of her Newbery awards and honors do, so I was excited to start this book, The Egypt Game.The book follows the adventure of two girls, April and Melanie, who create the Egypt game. At first glance, they appear as opposite as can be: Melanie is an outgoing and amiable girl, good at getting along with everyone, and April distances herself from others with her arrogant airs and outrageous stories. Melanie has had a typical childhood, with two caring parents and a younger brother, settled in a neighborhood where she has lived her whole life. April, on the other hand, lived in California with her aspiring-actress mother, who was so focused on her own career and her desires that she often neglected her parenting and treated April more like a sister than a daughter. Despite their differences, they quickly learn that they have one important characteristic in common - they both prefer playing creative games made up in their mind than outdoor games or board games or school games. Bound by this shared interest, they become fast friends. One day, as they discuss their fascination with Ancient Egypt and old artifacts, they decide to reenact a ceremony from that culture, and the Egypt game is born. As time passes, the game evolves, with more roles for the girls to play, fake gods and goddesses borrowed from Egypt's religions, and lots of ceremonies and secret languages to create and enact. They incorporate Marshall, Melanie's younger brother, into the games from the start, so he can play a child Pharaoh. Later, they invite a new friend, Elizabeth, who moves into their apartment complex, and then two boys from school who find their secret hideout where all the Egypt games take place.The Egypt game becomes more important for the children as the real world around them darkens. A young girl is murdered, in the same fashion as a child was murdered not long ago in the past, and the town knows that they have a serial killer of children on their hands. Children are kept indoors and the streets are silenced. Melanie and April focus on the game instead of the new rules and restrictions, but even in the game, events are turning strange as the pretend oracle starts to accurately predict the future, building up to a climax that resolves all the mysteries of the book. As with the first book I read by Snyder, the author deftly handles mature topics, such as the fear engendered by violence, with just the right balance of enough information and not too much. Children need to learn about matters both serious and light, and it is important to address them in a way appropriate for their age. I think Snyder is a master at maintaining this fine balance. She writes children's stories with integrity and finesse.In addition, her characters are fully realized girls and boys that embody child-like thoughts, actions, and desires. They are complex characters who evolve as the story progresses. I loved every kid in this book, and wished I could be friends with them when I was a child. The plot builds up naturally and reads quickly. It's a clever story about inventive children - and the Egypt game is a fascinating concept that they create - that will appeal to children and adults.more
    April comes to live with her dead father's mother, Caroline. April's mother, Dorothea, lived in Hollywood and was an aspiring actress with a boyfriend and not much time for an 11 year old child. April is somewhat of a fish out of water until she meets Melanie, a girl her age who lives in the same apartment complex. Between the two girls the Egypt game begins and they gather things to play it in the lot next to the A-Z junk shop run by a mysterious old man called the Professor. Wherever Melanie goes she must take her four year old brother, Marshall. What I found terribly interesting was not only how these three, then four, then five children make up and played such a fascinating game given just their own imaginations and the things that came to hand, but also how the author wove into the story the very serious and politically loaded subject of the murder of a child. Just so you don't put the book down and not pick it up after that statement, none of the main characters in the story are the child that dies, but the murderer is a person who lives in the neighborhood. The author handles this very loaded subject very adroitly without losing the charm and humor of the main story...nice. It is well worth readingmore
    When April moves in with her grandmother, she meets Melanie and Marshall Ross. April and Melanie become fast friends, discovering a shared delight in reading and imaginative games, and both become fascinated with Ancient Egypt. In a neighbor's abandoned yard, they begin playing the Egypt Game, using their knowledge of Ancient Egypt and imagination to create altars and rituals in an elaborate game. But their play is threatened when a local child is murdered, and there's a possibility that the guilty person is someone they know.I chose this as my read for Banned Books Week, curious to see what sorts of rituals and descriptions might make someone react so strongly as to challenge this book just in the past year. I'd expected a fantasy where the gods came to life, and ancient rituals were described in detail. I'm still somewhat baffled, because what I found was a book steeped in imaginative play that reminded me of the games I used to play with my friends, cousins, and neighbors. In fact, reading the book became more of an experience of walking down memory lane, remembering how we played games based on movies or TV shows that we would stop to discuss who was getting eaten by dinosaurs, or if which dinosaur we were calling on for super powers. The descriptions of the kids' imagination, discussions, and power plays for making game decisions, were quite realistic. I was also surprised that a book written in the 60s has aged extremely well. Though I laughed at some of the kids' expressions ("Sheesh!" reminded me of another friend from my childhood...), for the most part their story could have been one that happened in almost any small town neighborhood. Also, the main characters are white, African American, Asian American, and more, quite a varied cast for its time. I seriously wonder what book the challenger was reading, because it doesn't appear to be at all like the one I read.more
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