SECRETS IN STONE by Laurie Coulter
Kirkus Star

SECRETS IN STONE

All About Maya Hieroglyphs
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 11
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Egyptian hieroglyphs have gotten far more press, but, as Coulter (co-author, To Be a Princess, p. 1355) shows, the ancient Maya carved (or in rare surviving examples, wrote) symbols that are every bit as mysterious, revealing—and useful for creating secret messages. Beginning with the 19th-century rediscovery of Maya cities and culture, Coulter traces the slow deciphering of Maya writing—without the benefit of a Rosetta Stone. Bringing readers along, she introduces each step with a storyteller’s gift, keeping it fascinating, while sacrificing none of the facts. She pauses along the way for brief disquisitions on chocolate, the ball game known as “pitz,” Maya folklore, beauty secrets, calendars, numbers, and how glyphs were combined to create names and narrative. Recognizing that the symbols are hard to draw freehand, she concludes with a simplified alphabet and mini-glossary printed with raised ink, allowing young enthusiasts to rub such messages as “I have 150 friends,” or “[My] brother/sister [is a] yellow dog.” Adding to the fun, there are party tips, ideas for projects, and games. A grand profusion of photos, drawings, and stylized new art on lushly glossy paper further brightens this lively, inventive, eye-opening introduction. (index, selected bibliography) (Nonfiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-316-15883-6
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2001