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Book Review: Pepi and the Secret Names


Reading Level

Ages 4-8

It's not always the "older audience" readers that have all the fun or have empowered heroes. This book has a main character, a little boy named Pepi, who uses his wits to escape a series of potentially dangerous situations while helping his father prepare a masterpiece fit for a king.

Pepi's family lives in ancient Egypt. Pepi's father is a painter who has been given the task of painting the inside of a tomb that is being built for one of Egypt's pharaohs. In order to keep him safe in the next life, the pharaoh has commanded that certain images be painted on the walls of his tomb. Pepi's father is in charge of doing this. Pepi, wanting to help his father, chooses to find real animals to serve as inspirations for his father, who has not seen real lions, deadly snakes, and other dangerous animals up close.

This is where the fun and imagination come in.

The second half of the book's title comes into play when Pepi confronts the animals and tells them their Secret Names, forcing them to obey the boy's wishes. The fun part for the reader comes in the fact that each animal's Secret Name is written in hieroglyphs. The reader can puzzle out the Secret Names along with Pepi. (Answers are given at the back of the book, alongside an alphabet-hieroglyph translation.)

The wonderful things about this book are these:

  • It shows a little boy willing to risk death to help his father do an important job.
  • It shows the same little boy using his wits to overcome physical disadvantages.
  • It tasks the reader to use his or her creativity to puzzle out the Secret Names of the various animals.
  • It creates a series of potentially dangerous situations, setting the scene vividly for each, so the reader knows just how much Pepi is risking his life.
  • It includes enough other details to give the reader a good understanding of the daily lives and important tasks of people in ancient Egypt.

Whether Pepi and his father ultimately succeed will be left to you the reader to discover. Pick up a copy of this wonderful book and see for yourself.

Buy this book from Amazon.com

 
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