Thursday, November 4, 2010

This day in history...King Tut Day!

I learned a fun fact this morning (thank you, Emerson radio, broadcasting joy and knowledge across the bay state!) - today is King Tut Day! On November 4th, 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter uncovered the entrance to boy king Tutankhamen's tomb.

Instead of debating over which Thanksgiving movie to watch tonight or patching up your Wellingtons, here are some fun and historical entertainment alternatives:

I can't get enough of activity books, and this particular oversize maze book is right up my alley. Mummy Mazes: A Monumental Book by Elizabeth Carpenter is a poster book of mazes, puzzles and codes. Each spread folds out to a giant maze or picture of famous Egyptian monuments, mummies, and pharaoh masks.

For the future archaeologist, GeoCentral gives us a Pyramid Dig Kit, a pocket-size pyramid with digging tools and brush to unearth an ancient Egyptian treasure. The possibilities include a pharaoh head, Egyptian cat, Egyptian queen, and other relics.

When it comes to books, if your history or mythology buff hasn't read a Rick Riordan novel yet, he has started a new series based on Egyptian gods called The Kane Chronicles. So far, only the first book, The Red Pyramid, is out, but once you start a Riordan series, you'll be chomping at the bit for the next installment. Brother and sister Carter and Sadie Kane have been raised separately since their mother's mysterious death six years ago. They are reunited under dire circumstances: their father disappears and accidentally releases violent Egyptian gods from captivity.

The Newbery Honor winner Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder is up with The Westing Game for one of my all-time favorite mysteries. Four kids in California are fascinated by ancient Egypt and build an elaborate pretend world in an abandoned city lot. They research pharaoh history and create rituals, until mysterious murders occur in their neighborhood and they receive cryptic messages from their "oracle."

For non-fiction, our receiver John recommends David Macaulay's architecture book Pyramid. Macauley is famous for his detailed drawings, cross-sections, and clear explanations of both the architectural design and historical-social function of the buildings. In this case, how and why pyramids were built.

(Side note: I've managed to make it to 5 pm and through an entire blog post without a single bad pun about mummies! I'm terribly proud of myself.)

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