Friday, April 26, 2024

Magical Museum: Ancient Egypt by Stepanka Sekaninova

 Today, we're heading into the realm of ancient history and nonfiction for those readers just below the middle grade (actually, I going to go out on a limb and bet mg-ers would pick it up, too). I assume it's going to be giving off a museum-visit atmosphere, and the cat on the front will be our guide (?). I'm hoping it will bring as much fun as it does information, but we'll just have to read it and find out.

Ancient Egypt
by Stepanka Sekaninova
Illustrated by Jakub Cenkl
Albatros Media
Children's Nonfiction
64 pages
ages 6 to 9


When a magical scarab awakens a museum exhibit, a mummified cat leads kids on an enchanting adventure, teaching them about Ancient Egyptian history, life, and culture.
Prepare to be transported deep into the mesmerizing heart of Ancient Egypt. As you open the book's pages, you unwittingly awaken a mystical scarab, setting in motion a thrilling adventure back through history. Join a mummified cat on a quest to capture the scarab and restore normality to the museum. In their chase through the museum's various rooms, the scarab breathes life into ancient exhibits, immersing readers in the rich tapestry of Ancient Egyptian culture and daily life.
Magical Museum: Ancient Egypt strikes just the right balance between learning and entertainment, making it the ideal choice for parents and educators seeking to inspire young minds by making education fun. With its interactive story and captivating illustrations, it seamlessly introduces kids ages 6–9 to the wonders of Ancient Egypt, cultivating a love for history and exploration, sparking kids’ imaginations, and prompting them to be active participants in their own education.


A touch of magic and a curious kitty make it fun to explore all sorts of historical tidbits about ancient Egypt, which go beyond the usual dates and facts.

When readers open to the first page, the release a magical scarab, which brings the entire Egyptian exhibit in the museum to life. Each room introduces a new aspect of Egyptian history, but this doesn't head toward boring dates, places, and individuals. Rather, it steers deeper into explanations surrounding the how and why. From every day life to religion to rulers, various aspects are explored. Readers receive a well-rounded idea of the time period and will no-doubt learn something new. Since dates and numbers are kept to a very bare minimum, it doesn't bog down, either.

The text appears in boxes. The font was a bit smaller than I appreciate for this reading level, but it's nothing out of the ordinary and no problem to read. The vocabulary does edge toward the upper end of the age group and will work well for the lower end of the middle grade audience, too. There is quite a bit in these pages to discover, but that can be taken in bits and pieces...although there is a very light story thanks to the cat, which does tie everything together to be read in one go. The text speaks to the reader, giving it a conversation direction, and this also helps to keep a lighter atmosphere.

The illustrations are well done and help to bring the information across with more clarity. The details  add a better idea as to what life was like at the time, while also tossing in a bit of humor and fun. 

It's an enjoyable read, which keeps the audience level in mind, while offering quite a bit of information. Readers will come out knowing more about Egypt and the culture, and it does offer a rounded foundation for more solid facts in the future.

And here they are...

Štěpánka Sekaninová spent her childhood near Kolín, in the Polabí lowlands region. Although she is a Bohemian at heart, fate carried her to the heart of Moravia. She is a graduate in Czech and History from the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University. While still a student, she started work at Czech Television in Brno, where as a reporter she travelled about the South Moravia region and got to know every part of it. She later switched from reporting to the production of light entertainment and children’s programmes for the Brno studio.
Štěpánka loves books and has always longed to write, so when her life’s journey presented her with the opportunity to work as a literary editor for Albatros Media, she accepted it with alacrity.
And so she writes, surrounded by beautiful books, realizing a dream she’s had since childhood . . .
Jakub Cenkl was born in 1982 in the village of Čeladná, in the up-and-down landscape of the Moravian-Silesian Beskids. Nor was his way to becoming an illustrator a straightforward one.
Having enrolled as a student of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Technical University of Ostrava, he soon discovered that this was a blind alley. He opted instead for the teacher-training programme in art education for secondary schools and primary art schools at Palacký University in Olomouc. It was here that he was drawn to graphic design, which he began to teach himself in his spare time.
He honed his skills in graphic design and illustration by working for six years at various studios, including Design Herynek and Craneballs.
Jakub Cenkl is now an established freelance illustrator. When not sitting in front of his computer, he is most often found in the hills, where he goes to clear his head by indulging his other passion, running.

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