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The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
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The Egypt Game (original 1967; edition 2009)

by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Alton Raible (Illustrator)

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2,910501,982 (3.82)54
Member:Quispy
Title:The Egypt Game
Authors:Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Other authors:Alton Raible (Illustrator)
Info:Atheneum (2009), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1967)

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» See also 54 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
Things I liked:

1) It's a story set in a college town in California. I'm thinking it's Berkeley, although Snyder never names it in the story.

2) Snyder deftly navigates the subtleties of childhood relationships, including the awkward things we do as children (and as adults) when we're feeling uncertain of ourselves and our place in the world. This felt a little Harriet the Spy-ish.

3) The group of friends is diverse in age, race, family constellation, and economic background but while the characters and the narrator remark upon these differences at times, they're not the primary focus of the story.

4) Marshall. That kid kicks butt, and my kids agree.

Things I didn't like:

1) It was a little boring at times. Maybe this is because I half-listened to the audiobook before I finished the book-book.

2) The ending was...anti-climactic. But then, what do I expect? I think it was in Huckleberry Finn (or maybe Tom Sawyer?) where Mark Twain talks about the difficulty of picking a spot to end a story about a child because childhood just keeps on going (pardon my fumbling and un-fact-checked paraphrase). Maybe that difficulty is the root of some of my discontent with the ending of The Egypt Game.

Things I found interesting but kind of neutral:

1) I never thought of making an Egyptian crown out of a bleach bottle. Genius, but I'd have to be a way awesomer mom to attempt it.

2) Does the climax remind anyone else of To Kill a Mockingbird? I won't go into detail because I'm married to someone who hates spoilers and has left me very nervous about accidentally spoiling stories (What happened to the Titanic, you ask? I won't be the one to tell you), but it just reminded me of that one part in Harper Lee's book.

Bottom line:

This was a solid book. My kids and I enjoyed it, but it didn't blow my mind. ( )
1 vote ImperfectCJ | Apr 28, 2016 |
April has a movie star for a mom. When she has to move to a small city with her grandma she is really upset. She makes a friend named Melanie. They only have one thing in common, they love ancient Egypt. They make a game called the Egypt game but mysterious things start to happen. What will happen in the Egypt game?
I liked this book because of all the humor and mystery. I actually enjoyed reading some of the words they used. The characters were also very funny. I recommend this book to people who like ancient Egypt and humor in writing. ( )
  ditani | Apr 16, 2016 |
My kids are enjoying this audiobook, but I'm not a fan of the narration. It's too slow and lacking in animation to hold my interest. I thought I didn't like the story, but when left the audio to the kids and started reading the book on my own, I enjoyed it much more. Review of the non-audio book to follow. ( )
1 vote ImperfectCJ | Mar 24, 2016 |
A ragtag group of children form a secret society, complete with an oracular statue, in an abandoned lot. To this day, I eye abandoned lots in the hopes of having my own Egypt Game. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
The Egypt Game is easily Zilpha Keatley Snyder's most famous work, and there's little mistaking why: it's a fantastic story and expertly written. The book represents the zenith of a number of themes and ideas Snyder has worked with across almost five decades of a career, along with the introduction of a multiculturalism apparent in many of her later stories. This one has probably found its way into school curricula for that reason and two others - the "educational" nature of the children's game, and the rare introduction of a truly dark, dangerous undercurrent in the form of a child's murder - but that doesn't stop it being an extraordinary book on its own merits.

This is the book that, more than any other, really quickly demonstrates Snyder's adept skill at understanding the language and methodology of children. You have several very distinct character types - the lonely girl with the selfish front, the practical and considerate girl, the quiet and kind girl, the older-than-his-years toddler, the big jocks - working through problems together, whether those be real or totally imaginary. Snyder never talks down to us as readers (as usual, her lack of need for an overt narrative voice is remarkable), nor does she attempt to tell us how children should behave. She simply reports what they would do, quite naturally, and finds characteristic reasons to encourage or discourage certain behavior. At one point during their Egyptian rituals, one child suggests signing their names in blood, as she had read in Tom Sawyer. The children abandon the idea not because such an idea might be dangerous or unwise, but because they haven't got a sharp needle to hand - and besides, one of the children feels a bit squeamish over the idea. It's simple, but it indicates an authenticity of audience that Snyder can pull off like few others. She may have been a teacher, but there's nothing of the preachy "teacher" voice in Snyder's work.

Of course, more than anything, The Egypt Game is simply a great read. I loved it at eight or nine years old and was astonished how well it holds up after all these years. Several times I laughed out loud in the reading (as with Toby's Halloween costume), and more than once I found myself saying, "She managed to do that in a children's book?"

This is a really wonderful work and deserves to be enjoyed by many more generations of readers, both young and old.
  saroz | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zilpha Keatley Snyderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Frankland, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raible, AltonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Not long ago in a large university town in California, on a street called Orchard Avenue, a strange old man ran a dusty shabby store.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440422256, Paperback)

When Melanie Ross and April Hall begin to play the Egypt Game, everyone thinks it’s just a game until strange things begin happening to the players. Has the Egypt Game gone too far?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:18 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A group of children, entranced with the study of Egypt, play their own Egypt game, are visited by a secret oracle, become involved in a murder, and befriend the Professor before they move on to new interests, such as Gypsies.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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