This flap-filled history book is the most stunning kids’ non-fiction book I’ve ever seen. I would have swooned for it as a child, and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with my son when he’s older!
Book: The Egyptians written by Jonny Marx and illustrated by Chaya Prabhat
Read before: No
Publication date: 1st October 2020
Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Little Tiger Books. All opinions my own.
I was really impressed with Jonny Marx’s ability to distill history into accessible chunks in The Humans (my review of that is here), and this is an amazingly beautiful large-format hardback in a similar vein, but focused solely on the Ancient Egyptians (as you can probably guess!). There are dozens of flaps on each page, and they are such an awesome addition – they really help break down the facts into sections for accessible reading, and they also make reading the book feel like doing archaeology, as you excavate each section. Some of the flaps even have more flaps underneath! Reading this book would be a magical way to discover that era for the first time.
Chaaya Prabhat’s art style really suits the dynamic, interactive feel of the book, with its rich, eye-grabbing, sunset-y colours and intricate backgrounds. I really like the style of the faces, which lend humour and humanity to the scenes, and the accurately diverse skintones of the Egyptians. Each of the six enormous spreads is visually very different, while still creating a cohesive whole – the entire book is just a gorgeous sensory experience.
With sections covering all aspects of society, from the actual practice of archaeology itself, to the fashion, sport, and religion of the Egyptians (and of course not forgetting to spotlight the ever-fascinating mummies and pyramids!), this offers a wide-ranging overview that should tempt readers into real curiosity about Ancient Egypt. I particularly enjoyed the section ‘Life on the Nile’, which explored everything from the economy to the wildlife, explaining just how important Egypt’s location was to its success. The vocabulary used is fairly high-level, but not so intimidating a confident reader couldn’t handle it, and it would be well-suited to pore through together with a less able reader, thanks to the interactivity of the flaps.
I don’t think pictures can do justice to how beautiful and engaging this book is – if you have a chance to see it in person, you’ll see it’s even prettier than it looks online. It would make a phenomenal gift book – I actually found myself wanting to leave the flaps untouched so as not to spoil the experience of uncovering the book’s secrets for my son, even though it will be a good few years before he can even read, haha. If you have any little history buffs in your life, giving them this book would guarantee your spot as their favourite person! Five out of five (worshipped) cats.