How the Sphinx Got to the Museum is my favorite kind of picture book: wonderfully illustrated, with an intriguing text that teaches some great lessons about history and culture. Eleanor's too young for it now, but I snagged a used copy at Bookmans anyway, since I'm sure she'll like it in a few years.
How The Sphinx Got To The Museum starts out with some kids at a museum, asking questions about a Sphinx. Then it flashes back to 1740 B.C., where Pharaoh Hatshepsut orders her architect to make six Sphinxes.
And from there the tale progresses, in the style of a "this is the house that Jack built" story.
Here is the sculptor
working with mallets and chisels, carving the granite Sphinx that was...
All the way to:
Here is the Docent, who loves museums, has read all about ancient Egypt, and likes to talk to visitors about the Sphinx that was...
documented by the photographer,
painted and restored by the artist,
officially numbered by the registrar,
carefully lifted by the riggers,
repaired by the conservators,
welcomed by the curator,
packed and unpacked by the art movers,
approved by the department of antiquities,
uncovered by the archaeologist,
broken by the stepson,
prized by the Egyptian priests,
carved by the sculptor,
"So that's how the Sphinx got to the museum!" says the little girl.
In addition to the accurate and pleasantly singsong text, the story is accompanied by really fantastic drawings of all of the processes listed in the recurring recital. I think elementary kids would probably like reading this alone, and preschoolers will love to have it read to them. And, as a bonus for history buffs: there are a couple of extra pages at the back with more details about Hatshepsut and her Sphinxes. I also noticed that there's a sequel of sorts: How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum. I haven't read it, but I bet it's beautiful too!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Recommended age: 3-8
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