Cry of the Benu Bird: An Egyptian Creation Story // Tutankhamen's Gift
This book review covers two wonderful books for the young (or just the young at heart--we keep copies here in the temple library and everybody seems to enjoy them!)
"Cry of the Benu Bird: An Egyptian Creation Story"
Adapted and illustrated by C. Shana Greger
Houghton Mifflin Co.
This wonderfully illustrated little book brought tears to my eyes the first time I saw it. Carol Greger's done a marvelous job weaving together the separate strands of the Iunu (Heliopolis) Creation Myths, from the rising of Tem (called "Atum" here) from the Nun, to the creation of living beings, the gods, and earth. The story flows nicely and should be easily followed by even younger children, with a patient storyteller.
While this book obviously has more of a message than the first book (most of the story revolves around how the "bad Pharaoh" Akhenaten takes away little Tutankhamen's temple friends in the purge of the non-Atenist religion), "Tutankhamen's Gift" is a nice story about ancient Egypt for younger readers. It follows the life of Tut from boyhood to kingship, and is an interesting departure from the usual adult book perspective of Tut as a puppet of the priesthood, reinstalling a boring old religious system that couldn't compare to Akhenaten's supposed monotheism; here, Tut is a good guy, the savior of the gods in the temples he loved as a child. It might not follow history very well (we know that Tut grew up at Amarna, and until adulthood was named Tutankhaten), but it's a nice story. Nicely illustrated, as well.
- Rev. Tamara L. Siuda