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Book Review: Hatshepsut, the Princess Who Became King


Reading Level

Ages 9-12

Also on This Subject

• Hatshepsut: Famous Female Pharaoh
• Ancient Egypt

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Some stories from history are so compelling that they bear further examination. The story of Hatshepsut is such a one.

She was the first female pharaoh. Such a statement itself bears further examination, since the pharaoh of Egypt—the king—was, by definition, male. Yet Hatshepsut was the ruler of the vast Egyptian Empire for 20 years.

Her remarkable story is the subject of this remarkable book. Bringing all of the vast National Geographic resources to bear, this book tells the story, in great detail, of one of history's most fascinating characters, from scant evidence. Unlike other pharaohs, who left behind a rich legacy of gold and hieroglyphs, Hatshepsut has left us very little to prove her existence and importance. The book fills in the gaps and creates a whole life, with whole problems and whole solutions, for the famed female king.

The illustrations are top-notch, as always, as is the writing and subject matter. Fitting accompanying graphics dot the pages, along with a super helpful timeline, which adorns the bottom of each page, with relevant details to each page's subject included on that page. Several nice touches are presented, including the kind of toys Hatshepsut would have played with as a child.

The book progresses as basically a narrative of Hatshepsut's life, beginning with her beginning and ending with her passing. In between, the details of her life and of the land that she eventually ruled are made known. Fun facts are included, as are famous illustrations. The overall result is a fun, interesting read.

The only complaint with this book would be the insertion of a two-page spread dealing with the excavation of Hatshepsut's famous burial site, Deir el-Bahri, near the beginning of the biographical narrative. The reader finishes reading about what a young Hatshepsut would wear for summer clothes, turns the page, and is confronted with events that occurred 2,000 years later. This is jarring and unsettling. This information should be included; it should be moved to the back of the book, however, or to the very front. As it sits now, it interrupts the narrative flow.

The outstanding nature of the rest of the book overcomes this inconsistency, making this a desirable product of the highest order.

Buy this book from Amazon.com

 
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