Monday, May 04, 2009

Tutankhamen's Gift

My daughter and I rode our bikes to the new public library here in Fargo on Saturday, the 2nd. She's getting old enough that she should be able to get to and from the Library on her own, so we were setting her route. Upon arriving at the library, we were greeted by a surprise: it was used children's-book sale day! We browsed, and Destiny found three books for herself, but I found one for my Egyptophile wife. Tutankhamen's Gift, by Robert Sabuda, is a beautifully illustrated version of the story of Tutankhamen's youth. There's probably stacks of books out there documenting that tumultuous time in Egypt's history when — o, the horror! — monotheism was nearly introduced as Egypt's national religion. Sabuda uses a variety of styles in his other books, and he seems to be a pop-up book expert, but this book isn't pop-up; the illustration style is akin to a woodcut in its simple rough lines, but the vividness of the colors, with blank outlines, has the feel of a stained-glass window; example:

Most of the images are page-spanning like the example - a beautiful book, and very identifiable with young children: the smallest, weakest of the boys will grow up to be a king, and not just an average king, but one who restores people's faith in the station of the king. The one I found appears to be a first-printing, first-edition, and although it has obviously been read and handled it is in remarkably good shape for being a library book.

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