Ancient Egyptian Afterlife!

We have been in a big Ancient Egypt phase lately, and given our ongoing love of all things spooky I was especially excited to find The Official Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife by Laura Winstone. It has definitely been getting a lot more re-reading than most of our other Ancient Egypt non-fiction! Bright illustrations plus clear short sections of information keeps things engaging – and not too morbid! – for younger readers.

Let’s Explore!

The book is narrated by Bastet the Cat, Ancient Egyptian goddess and your own personal tour guide to the afterlife. This speech style means the information never seems too dense or impenetrable, and is often split into little speech bubbles which address the reader directly. I found this engaged the 5yo much more (and it’s always good to have an excuse for silly voices!)

H liked the bits about the weighing of the heart, especially as it matches the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife walk-through experience at our local museum – what a crossover! – and gives you instructions about what you’ll need to do once you’ve arrived at the next stage of your journey. The bright illustrations against the black background give off a retro vibe (Fuzzy Felt anyone!?) and keep things from getting too gloomy.

Weighing the heart

Meanwhile I was v excited to see the Ka and Ba making an appearance with simple descriptions and illustrations based on what we see in actual papyri – imagine being able to learn about the Ancient Egyptian soul as a child! As someone who works on ancient ideas about souls, this was just too exciting for me..

The Ka and the Ba in flight

As well as taking you on a tour of the afterlife – the rituals, inhabitants and environments! – it also packs in plenty of information about everyday objects and materials – like this super clear and beautifully illustrated note on faience:

No creepy spooky mummies here!

It’s such a nice change to have a book focused on Ancient Egyptian beliefs around death that isn’t just mummies. Fingers crossed there’ll be an Ancient Greek version soon!

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