A young boy has a close-up view of Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922.
Hassan’s farmer father is conscious that their ancestors’ occupation, gathering and selling treasures from the tombs of ancient kings, is not likely to win the boy any respect on the archaeological dig near their home. He resists letting Hassan go to participate in the dig. But Hassan is determined to be part of what seems exciting and momentous, and he is unafraid of the jinn rumored to be guarding the tombs. He digs out a hidden staircase and is present when Carter and his companions peek into the first of the rooms of treasure in the boy king’s tomb. Garns’ gouache-and-pastel paintings in warm golds and purples evoke the desert setting and suggest the ancient royal past. The earnestness in the boy’s face and concern in his father’s keep the focus on Hassan and his experience. The title presumably refers to Hassan, but it could hint at other removals from these tombs—including Carter’s. Gauch explains in an author’s note that Hassan’s village of Gurna was real and demolished in 2007 by the Egyptian government to make way for pharaonic tomb excavation. She speculates that in fact there might have been a curse, as Lord Carnavon and others died soon after the discovery.
An intriguing glimpse of this renowned archaeological find. (Picture book. 7-10)