We’re in the middle of a big Octonauts phase, thanks to the particularly catchy Great Barrier Reef special on Netflix. Lots of singing about Pirate Pie, and lots of interest in all things sea-based – so it seemed like a good opportunity to try out Secret Treasures of Ancient Egypt by Kate Sparrow and Esther Aarts. This is one of the many fab books published by the British Museum and Nosy Crow, and is based on the BM’s 2016 exhibition Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds.
The book focuses on the two lost cities of Canopus and Thonis-Heracleion: exploring the work of underwater archaeologists, and tracing back through the history of what life was like in an ancient Egyptian city. The information is presented in clear and easy-to-understand segments, blending short sentences with bright and cheerful illustrations, speech bubbles, notes, and glossaries. The mix sounds a bit chaotic but works well, and kept H’s attention the whole way through without me having to simplify anything or leave bits out. There were plenty of giggles, too (he has definitely inherited my sense of humour):
One of my absolute favourite things about these BM/Nosy Crow books is that they combine illustrations with actual photographs of the museum artefacts, bringing the objects very much back to life – and very much capturing H’s imagination in this case as underwater treasure! A lot of the focus is on the relationships between the Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Greeks, and I was pretty happy to see ol’ Herodotus making a guest appearance:
Along with 32 pages of engaging text and pictures, there’s also a pull-out sticker scene (120 stickers), a timeline and fold-out map, and a make-your-own 3D sarcophagus complete with mummified ibis. Stickers and mummies = sure-fire way to keep any little (or big!) historian busy. I absolutely love these books and how accessible they make antiquity. There’s so much packed into them – but the care and enthusiasm really shines through. We’ll definitely be checking out the others!