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MUTI’S NECKLACE by Louise Hawes


The Oldest Story in the World

by Louise Hawes & illustrated by Rebecca Guay

Pub Date: June 26th, 2006
ISBN: 0-618-53583-7
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Inspired by an ancient tale (probably “The Story of the Green Jewel,” although the author does not name it), and subtitled “The Oldest Story in the World” (which other sources identify as Gilgamesh), this is the story of Muti, “daughter of Egypt,” who from birth has worn the precious turquoise-and-carnelian necklace crafted by her loving father. When, at age 13, this shapely, Cleopatra-kohled beauty goes “to work for King Snefru, mighty Pharaoh of all Egypt,” the chiseled young ruler, impressed by her grace and strength (laundering whilst dressed and bejeweled to the nines), insists that she head an all-girl rowing crew. This leads to the loss of her necklace, her death-defying refusal to continue to power the Pharaoh’s boat and the Royal magician’s Moses-like parting of the waters of the lake to allow Muti to retrieve her treasure. Evocative pretend-papyrus papers and glowing, detailed watercolor-and-gouache pictures of the comely Pharaoh, his serving girls in richly adorned, diaphanous dresses and Egyptian icons galore give a fairy-tale feel to this immoderately romantic telling. (Picture book. 5-9)