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The Egypt Game (1967)

af Zilpha Keatley Snyder

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Serier: The Game (1)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4,722642,347 (3.84)72
A group of children, entranced with the study of Egypt, play their own Egypt game, are visited by a secret oracle, become involved in a murder, and befriend the Professor before they move on to new interests, such as Gypsies.
  1. 40
    Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth af E. L. Konigsburg (infiniteletters)
  2. 40
    From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler af E. L. Konigsburg (allisongryski)
    allisongryski: These books share an imaginative, adventurous quality, with compelling young characters. The plots/settings are very different, but they have some thematic similarities.
  3. 20
    Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos af R. L. LaFevers (jfoster_sf)
    jfoster_sf: Another great book for Egypt fanatics! This book is about Theo, the daughter of two museum curators who specialize in Egyptian artifacts. Most nights Theo hangs out at the museum with her dad while her mom travels abroad to dig for more treasures. The story starts off with Theo and her dad opening a package from her mom, and Theo is anxious to see what's inside-not just out of curiosity, but because half the items her mom ships to the museum are riddled with ancient curses, and Theo is the only one who can sense them. It's up to her to protect her parents and the other members of the museum, especially when a mysterious man starts lurking about with his eyes on a rare item.… (mere)
  4. 32
    The Gypsy Game af Zilpha Keatley Snyder (HollyMS)
  5. 00
    A Tale of Time City af Diana Wynne Jones (g33kgrrl)

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Viser 1-5 af 64 (næste | vis alle)
Neighborhood kids get together and start playing at being Egyptian, but things don't go as smoothly as they'd planned.

Okay, I'll admit it, this was cute, but not cutesy. The children act like children. Definitely can be an adult read. ( )
  fuzzi | Oct 29, 2022 |
I can't remember when I read this, but what I did remember was the dramatic Egyptian-inspired funeral for a small dead pet (I didn't remember what), including the illustration--and I'm impressed how good my memory of that illustration was.

What I definitely did not remember was how racially diverse this book was and how many quite realistic childhood/adult relationships are addressed. This must have been a pretty progressive book for 1967, when it was written: in a California college town, a white girl and a black girl become best friends and also befriend Chinese and Japanese American kids, the latter of whom is described as an "all-American boy". Okay, actually it was "all-American oriental boy"--the very dated word made me cringe--but at the same time, a Japanese American kid is being called "all-American" just 20 years after the US interned Japanese Americans during World War II. What is that if not progress, for the time?

The book definitely has problematic elements for today, but it seems like they're small enough that they could be revised. I haven't yet read the recent revised version of A Cricket in Times Square, but I do like the idea of bringing the language up to date--it would be much easier here in The Egypt Game.

Anyway, plot summary:

April moves in with her grandmother (who has had to sell her lovely one-bedroom to buy a less beautiful two-bedroom to make this work) with a promise from her aspiring-actress mom that it will only be fore a few weeks. April's a bit awkward from having grown up in an emotionally neglected Hollywood life, but kind-hearted Melanie still manages to connect with her over their shared active imaginations and fascination with ancient Egypt. With Melanie's younger brother, Marshall, and his stuffed octopus named "Security", in tow, they find a vacant lot behind they thrift shop run by a mysterious man known as "the Professor" (who has a scary reputation, though no one can remember why) and decide it's the perfect place to pretend to be Egyptian high priestesses, with Marshall as a young pharaoh. They set up a "temple" to Isis and Set and create elaborate ceremonies. School starts with no word from April's mom, but April and Melanie recruit younger, Chinese-American Elizabeth, who recently moved into the building with mother and two younger sisters. A child serial killer strikes and parents keep the kids inside, but they use the time to create elaborate costumes first for Halloween, and then for ongoing use. On Halloween night, they sneak away from trick-or-treating only to be caught by two "cool" boys in their grade who they worry will "fink" on them (the slang, which appears much more when the boys join the group, is hilariously dated)...but it turns out that Toby is as imaginative and creative as the girls, and Ken is a good enough sport to (hilariously reluctantly) go along for the ride. In addition to the already-mentioned funeral for and attempted mummification of Elizabeth's ex-parot (parakeet), the kids conduct a ritual to ask an oracle for advice...and are freaked out when they start getting answers. One night, while she's babysitting Marshall, April sneaks back to Egypt to retrieve a lost textbook and is caught by the child-killer. Only the Professor's timely intervention saves the day. All's well that ends well: the killer is sent to a mental hospital; April decides to stay with her grandmother for Christmas instead of joining a mom who only then remembered she had a daughter; the Professor confesses that watching the kids' fun has inspired him to a) give them keys to his backyard, b) get out in the world to acquire things for his shop; and c) hire Elizabeth's mom to run his shop while he's gone.

The Egypt Game is more than just fun and games: the kids deal with imperfect parents (April's absent mom, Toby's dad more interested in art than in his child's welfare), scary happenings in the wider world (the child-killer), people they don't understand (the Professor), kids of different ages with different strengths (imagination, observation, persuasion, moral support), people who don't always make sense to others (April, Marshall, and the Professor),

I'm sure other people have enumerated the reasons why this book is offensive: some words used to describe Elizabeth, Ken, and Melanie physically; the fact that the Professor's wife was "killed by the people she was trying to help", who were tribes in an unspecified place; and the way boys and girls are annoyed by each other just because they're boys and girls. (This may still be true in the playground, but I think books these days try to pretend it's not.) You can see Snyder trying to be inclusive, and maybe she was successful at the time. Sadly, it's a bit dated these days.

The Egypt Game has been banned for pagan worship/worshiping false gods. I've also seen in GR reviews that people object to kids playing with fire (part of why the Professor kept an eye on the kids), and to the serial killer element. Yeah, I think the story would have been just fine without the serial killer...but really, kids are being gunned down in classrooms, so I think they can handle a fictional serial killer.

I think what I liked best about The Egypt Game was how seriously it took the childrens' lives and concerns. I've noticed in some of the books for younger readers that I've read that there's a tendency to make things seem either too easy or too awful and oppressive. The Egypt Game found a nice balance, where kids can worry about killers but still want to go outside, be mad at their parents but happy with their friends, sad to lose something they love but excited to look forward to what might come next. Yes, adults would probably smile at some of the concerns that seem small--Melanie's sneaky theft of April's false eyelashes to help her fit in at school, the boys' and girls' insistence on only "accidentally" running into each other at school, Marshall's devotion to Security--but Snyder takes them as seriously as they deserve, given the small scope of the kids' lives.

This really is an excellent book. While disclaimers and discussions about what's out of date should go along with the talk about why we're fascinated by ancient Egypt and how adults aren't perfect, I'd still recommend it to kids.

Quotes & Notes

p. 48) [Set] was more than evil, and at times a lot more than Egyptian. For instance, at different times, his wicked tricks included everything from atomic ray guns to sulfur and brimstone. But, actually, that was the way with all of the Egypt Game. Nobody ever planned it ahead, at least, not very far. Ideas began and grew and afterwards it was hard to remember just how. That was one of the mysterious and fascinating things about it.
This book made me so nostalgic for all the games I used to play, either alone, with my sisters, or with a few friends. Some are downright cringe-worthy now, but they were so much fun!

p. 63) Mr. Bodler, the apartment building's janitor, creepily stands behind Melanie and April when they go to pick up Elizabeth on her first day of school. I was so sure he was the child killer. But then, maybe that just goes to show that it's not always the people you'd expect. Actually, I just have no idea why this creep is in this story at all.

p. 74) Some people accuse the Professor of being the child killer, though they have no particular reason:
The fact that the Professor sold old and cheap some of the things that Mr. Schmitt [who owned a general store] sold new and expensive was worth thinking about; but it didn't really prove anything one way or another.
I see you Snyder, commenting on dirty tricks to force the competition out of business. And pointing out that adults can be pretty mean for their own reasons.

p. 80-81) I really loved the PTA moms who all volunteered their husbands to chaperone kids on Halloween. Adults would really get some chuckles out of that.

p. 95) Melanie's parents are a source of wisdom about social justice: they're the ones who explain that a criminal might not be evil but might be mentally ill and need help, and they've attended a demonstration with Melanie and Marshall (though the demonstration was apparently for "things like Peace and Freedom" instead of, you know, civil rights, as would have been realistic for the time (unless Melanie doesn't mention civil rights to avoid making her white friend uncomfortable)).

p. 92-93) I do appreciate that Snyder keeps April and Melanie in the "boys are gross" stage instead of making them have crushes and stuff. Not every story needs romance!

p. 106) "Maybe we ought to tell the FBI [about Egypt]."
I do not buy for a minute that a Japanese-American boy would even joke about calling the FBI when his parents probably remembered being in concentration camps.

p. 115-116) Toby humorously recounts how his dad, an artist, made him an elaborate "statement piece" costume for Halloween and then got furious when Toby ruined it. Toby plays it for laughs, but I couldn't help feeling a little sad--his dad didn't ask him if he was okay, and his attitude reminded me of parents who want their children to be Instagram-worthy all the time.

p. 139-140) May I just say, I laughed out loud at Petey the parakeet's mummification process. But if you're sensitive about animals, you'll probably be appalled (even though Petey was dead of cat-causes before anything was done to him.) ( )
  books-n-pickles | Oct 28, 2022 |
April Hale, who prefers being called April Dawn, has been sent to live with her grandmother, a person she hardly knows. April’s mother was in show business and things were a bit too busy. It was to be only for a “short time” and then April would move back to Hollywood.

April wasn’t happy about being in a new place. She has no friends and she sees that she the kids around her have nothing in common. That is until she meets Melanie Ross from downstairs. It seems both girls are fascinated about ancient Egypt. They also like imagination games. When the girls discover a vacant, hidden yard, the idea of the Egypt Game comes alive.

The girls make new friends when a few of the other kids learn about the Egypt Game. Interest in reading up about ancient Egypt creates a bond between some unlikely friends. They also learn about the importance of friendship and caring for each other regardless of their backgrounds.

The characters are well developed and believable. Zilpha Keatley Snyder is a solid writer in plot, characters and tempo. I’ve read a number of her books and never been disappointed. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jun 2, 2022 |
A kid's chapter book that harkens back to a time when kids used their imaginations to play games, rather than a program and game player. An 11-year old girl is sent to live with her grandma and she and a neighbor (and the neighbor's little brother) stage an elaborate game with costumes pretending they are in ancient Egypt. A young kid is found murdered and suspicion falls on the oddball store owner where they've been playing. Not really for adults. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
As a child like the characters in this book I was fascinated by Egypt, reading everything I could, making up my own hieroglyph name. There is the death of a child that happens off page of someone we don't know. I saw pretty much where the story was going. However it made me nostalgic for my childhood Egypt phase. ( )
  nx74defiant | Jun 27, 2021 |
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A group of children, entranced with the study of Egypt, play their own Egypt game, are visited by a secret oracle, become involved in a murder, and befriend the Professor before they move on to new interests, such as Gypsies.

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