Comments from and about a dozen mummies, from those of a woolly mammoth and an ancient Egyptian dog to Vladimir Lenin’s.
Notable for its physical and geographical diversity, this chronologically arranged gallery of preserved remains human or otherwise pairs informal remarks by each subject with descriptive notes on facing pages supplied by individually identified modern archaeologists and paleontologists. These remarks are fairly chatty: “Hi, I’m Lyuba (LOO-buh), a baby woolly mammoth”; King Tut: “Hand me my cane, mortal.” In her painted illustrations Morrison likewise alternates reasonably realistic views of shriveled faces and sumptuous sarcophagi or arrays of artifacts with fleshed-out figures in historical or prehistorical settings. Brief descriptions of how the various types of mummies are created and some of the tools modern scientists use to study them bring up the rear along with a map and review quizzes. Lenin’s “Russia will be a workers’ paradise if it kills me!” may require some unpacking for younger audiences, but the whole presentation really underscores the point that he and the rest of these people and creatures were all once alive, which may well jump-start an urge to dig deeper into each one’s story.
An unusually animated way to unwrap a popular topic. (source list) (Informational picture book. 7-10)