The Egypt Game
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
This was a 1968 Newbery Honor Book, whose author won the same honor for two of her other books, and who also wrote a sequel to this book called The Gypsy Game
The Egypt Game is about a group of kids living in a California university town who play at being Egyptian royalty, priests and priestesses, etc. in a fenced-off yard behind a second-hand store. Using various junk and their own imaginations, they invent rituals and hieroglyphics and oracles and palace intrigues, and bring together such improbable friends and playmates as two sixth-grade girls (one black, one white), one of the girls' four-year-old brother, a fourth-grade girl (Asian), and two sixth grade boys (one white, one Asian) who otherwise wouldn't have seemed to have anything in common.
Their adventures and their friendships are light-hearted and appealing, though at times they also get a little spooky. And in the end the Egypt game serves partly to bring a lonely old man out of his shell, and partly to bring a serial killer of children to justice--an almost shockingly serious thread in an otherwise high-spirited story.
A bit on the politically correct side, maybe, and a bit dated too (that's what you have to expect when you read something older than yourself). But still, very enjoyable!
Recommended Age: 10+
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