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THE SCARAB’S SECRET by Nick Would

THE SCARAB’S SECRET

By Nick Would (Author) , Christina Balit (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8027-9561-7
Publisher: Walker

Stylized art adds atmosphere to this brief ancient Egyptian drama, but young readers may be more attracted by its unusual narrator. Contemplating its prominent image on a new temple mural, a scarab beetle recalls meeting a young prince, and later saving him from an assassination attempt by leading him away from a trap laid in his underground tomb. Using flattened perspectives and backgrounds filled with Egyptian motifs, Balit creates kaleidoscopically patterned illustrations through which move gracefully attenuated figures with strong noses and heavily outlined eyes. The palm-sized beetle, though it sometimes seems to have only four legs rather than six, gives most scenes a clear visual focus. Would closes with a general historical afterword that just as easily could have been incorporated into the story, but the tale will appeal to fans of Eve Bunting’s I Am the Mummy Heb-Nefert, illustrated by David Christiana (1997) or Andrew Clements’s Temple Cat, illus by Kate Kiesler (1996). (Picture book. 6-8)