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The Shipwrecked Sailor: An Egyptian Tale with Hieroglyphs [Hardcover]

Tamara Bower
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 2000

This story is based on one found on a papyrus scroll of hieroglyphs from the nineteenth century B.C., Egypt. It tells the tale of a voyage on the Red Sea to a mysterious and enchanted land of riches located south of Egypt.

On his way to the King's gold mines, a sailor is shipwrecked on a magic island, the Island of the Soul. Not long after he arrives, a gigantic serpent with scales of gold appears and reveals to the sailor that he is the Prince of Punt, and is also a lone survivor. The two become good friends, but one day a ship comes to rescue the sailor. Bearing gifts from the Prince, the sailor returns to Egypt with full hands, and a full heart.

This is a tale of the surprising (and fortuitous) bonds that unite us, and of the good that comes to us when we least expect it. Tamara Bower's lush illustrations are rendered in Egyptian style, and phrases from the story appear in hieroglyphs with their literal translations.


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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-5-Children fascinated by ancient Egypt and hieroglyphs should enjoy this retelling based on a tale found on an ancient papyrus scroll from the 19th century B.C.E. The sole survivor of a shipwreck relates being washed up on the shore of a paradisiacal "Island of the Soul" inhabited only by a huge serpent. As the sailor and serpent become friends, the creature tells how he lost his family and predicts the man's rescue, after which the island "will disappear forever under the waves, but it will always be with you, for it lives in your heart." The story, with its mystical snake and mysterious island, will hold readers' interest. The book is most successful, however, as a peek into ancient Egyptian folklore, art, and language. Bower's captivating pictures illustrate the story in the style of ancient Egyptian artists, utilizing vivid earth tones, blues, greens, and reds to depict a world that seems orderly even as a ship is overturned and its sailors drown. Hieroglyphic representations of highlighted phrases with their phonetic Egyptian translations appear on most pages of text. Five pages at the end give fascinating background. Pair this tale with Eric Kimmel's Onions and Garlic (Holiday, 1996) in a shipwreck-survivors storytime for school-aged children.
Louise L. Sherman, formerly at Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5. This captivating picture book for older children, based on a four-thousand-year-old papyrus scroll now in Moscow's Hermitage Museum, tells of a sailor, the sole survivor of a shipwreck, who finds himself on an island paradise, the Island of the Soul. A huge serpent, with scales of gold and lapis, finds the man and assures him he will soon be rescued. When the prediction comes to pass, the serpent gives the man "precious things" to take back with him, asking only that the sailor speak well of him. The pictures beautifully reflect the colors and hieratic forms traditionally associated with ancient Egypt, and children interested in hieroglyphs (virtually all children) will be fascinated by the bands of hieroglyphs shown and translated on the text page. They'll have a great time comparing the text to the pictures. The book includes a map, notes about the story, an explanation of the symbols, and a bibliography. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars How could a shipwreck turn out to be good? April 20 2001
Format:Hardcover
Imagine you are a sailor on your way to work in the mines. You ship gets wrecked by a hugh wave in a storm. You are the only survivor. You float toward an island. Once you get on land the trees split and the earth trembles. A giant snake appears who demands to know how you got there. This is BAD!
When you are rescued four months later you have made a friend and you are rich. This is GOOD!
Based on a papyrus scroll from the 19th century B.C.E., this tale is illustrated with Egyptian designs from tombs and temples of the New Kingdom. There are hieroglyphs translating some of the story. The illustrator, Tamara Bower, includes explanations on the symbols she uses in the artwork and a detailed history of the Pharaoh's gold mines in Nubia and Punt.
Things both GOOD and BAD. This book is a MUST HAVE!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into the Egyptian Imagination Dec 6 2000
Format:Hardcover
Tamara Bower's book, The Shipwrecked Sailor, provides delightful and instructive insight into the ancient Egyptian's imagination, as expressed in their literature and art. With hieroglyphs aptly translated by Melinda Hartwig, both children and adults will find this an entertaining, instructive, but above all beautiful book, a window on the Egyptian imagination that few other books of this genre can equal.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Book Nov. 27 2000
Format:Hardcover
Based on a story found on an Egyptian scroll of hieroglyphs from the 19 century BC, this beautifully illustrated book tells the tale of a voyage on the Red Sea to a mysterious and enchanted land south of Egypt. With translated hieroglyphs in full color, and much useful information for teachers in the end notes. We have put this book on our Reading Circle list of recommended books for Ohio schools.
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