Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE TOMB OF THE BOY KING by John Frank

THE TOMB OF THE BOY KING

By John Frank (Author) , Tom Pohrt (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 9th, 2001
ISBN: 0-374-37674-3
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

The exciting tale of the archaeological dig that resulted in the discovery of the incredible treasures of King Tut’s tomb. All the details are included: the difficulty in obtaining and maintaining financing, the daily tedium and labor, the superstitious belief that there was a curse on the site and, of course, the amazing riches they found. Frank (Erin’s Voyage, 1994, etc.) brings the characters of Carter, Carnarvon, Lady Evelyn, and Abdul Ali to life and manages to convey the mystery and wonder surrounding the venture in a fast-paced, almost breathless account—told entirely in verse. Frank has chosen to use a somewhat awkward ABCB rhyme scheme. But the main problem lies in the lack of consistency. Only a few of the stanzas are self-contained thoughts. Most are incomplete and continue, not always smoothly, onto the next stanza. Some of the poetry sings, but sometimes the reader is stopped cold. Therefore it takes some effort, and several readings, to find just the right flow in Frank’s verses; they need to be read as a kind of rhythmic prose. Younger readers may find the style too difficult and would probably benefit from an initial read-aloud by an adult. But it is definitely worth the effort. An epilogue presents a great deal of additional information, and leaves some questions, especially that of the supposed curse, intriguingly unanswered. The lovely, softly colored illustrations are a charming mixture of Egyptian motifs and detailed paintings depicting well-chosen vignettes from the story. A great way to pique interest in a discovery that’s still fascinating after so many years. (Poetry. 8-12)