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The Curse of King Tut's Mummy: Stepping Stones    by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld & James Nelson order for
Curse of King Tut's Mummy
by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

The Curse of King Tut's Mummy is one in a series of Stepping Stones® True Stories chapter books. Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld's text introduces a 19th century youngster, who grew up with an interest in ancient Egypt. Jim Nelson's mute-shaded grey illustrations enhance the mood.

Howard Carter's father Samuel was a well-known artist, who painted family portraits, including of the Amhersts, owners of Didlington Hall, a spacious mansion containing ancient Egyptian sculptures and art. Howard inherited his father's talent as an artist, but his parents struggled to fund college education for eleven children. Young Howard loved visiting the Hall, with its many Egyptian statues. He was intrigued by a papyrus scroll, containing a story of the mummy of a Pharaoh who played a memorable part in Egyptian history. There are many theories as to how King Tutankhamen died, and it remains a mystery to this day - was it murder or natural causes that took away the man who became King at the age of nine?

At age fifteen, Howard earned wages from painting rich people's pets. As luck would have it, at seventeen Howard was invited to travel to Egypt with friends of the Amherst family. They arrived in Cairo in 1891 where Howard met members of the Egypt Exploration Fund, and traveled to the great pyramids at Giza, which 'rose like giants out of the desert sand'. Howard always dreamed that he would find King Tut's tomb. At the entrance of Egyptian tombs were warning plaques, but even with these curses posted, thieves still pilfered the tombs to steal treasures buried with Egyptian royalty. (In that era, belongings and food were buried with the deceased, to guide and provide for them on their journey to eternity.)

As the years went by, Howard had the opportunity to work with archeologist Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie. At age twenty-five, Howard Carter became the Chief Inspector of Antiquities in Egypt, a job later taken away from him because of a disagreement - and in three years time, he was penniless. In 1908, his hopes were renewed when he met George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, the wealthy fifth Earl of Carnarvon, who agreed to fund Howard's search for Egyptian sarcophagi. I highly recommend The Curse of King Tut's Tomb, a highly-informative, historical account of Carter's search for King Tut's resting place.

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