Detailed paintings accompanied by panels of hieroglyphics grace a slim plot and a perplexing puzzle.
Jackal and Ibis are two (amusingly) low-life characters in ancient Egypt. Caught stealing, they are offered the chance to avoid punishment by retrieving a jeweled fish for the Cat Pharaoh. Not surprisingly, given that they have described themselves as “poor and stupid thieves,” they manage to muff this opportunity when they accidentally allow the golden fish to make contact with water—the very thing they had been warned against. Magically coming to life, the fish swims away, condemning them to spend the rest of their lives searching for it. Readers are invited to help by identifying the lost fish using a series of movable pages embedded in the back cover. Sliding each of the three circles creates fish of varying patterns. Discovering the correct pattern and reporting it to the author’s website will bring an unspecified reward. As always, Base’s illustrations are appealing and elaborate. An alphabetical key that accompanies the hieroglyphics provides access to additional content. Endpapers appear to be textured stone. Jackal and Ibis have expressive eyes that enhance the humor and effectively convey their emotions, while the snappish Crocodile Prince’s fierce fangs seem sharp enough to pierce the page.Base’s fans will be thrilled to have another challenge to pore over. (Picture book. 7-10)