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THE EGYPTIAN BOX by Jane Louise Curry


by Jane Louise Curry

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-84273-2
Publisher: McElderry

Tee is resentful, irritable, shy, self-conscious, contrary, and determined to be miserable. In short, she’s a fairly typical middle-school-age girl. She is particularly unhappy because her parents have moved the family from Maine to a small desert town upon receiving a substantial inheritance from an eccentric great uncle, who was an expert in Egyptology. He left Tee a shabti, a small box containing a wooden figure that would act as a servant in the afterlife of an entombed princess. When the hieroglyphs on the box are deciphered, the shabti is awakened. Tee is delighted at first, as she commands the shabti to do her chores, her homework, and even go to school for her, while she spends her days at home reading her beloved adventure stories. The shabti becomes more comfortable in Tee’s world than Tee is herself and eventually attempts to take her place permanently. Fantasy must be completely logical, and must create in the reader an absolute belief in all the possibilities—and Curry (The Wonderful Sky Boat, 2001, etc.) masters the technique admirably. She makes each incident seem not only plausible, but also inevitable. Tee moves from skepticism to total immersion in the magic, and from pleasure to concern about the shabti’s growing power. Along the way she comes to accept her strengths instead of wallowing in her shortcomings and thus achieves a satisfying solution. A well-crafted, unusual, and entertaining voyage. (Fiction. 9-12)