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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner takes you back to ancient Egypt for an exciting adventure. John and Sarah Tidewell are two siblings with different opinions about leaving Colorado behind to move to Maryland. Sarah is looking forward to the adventure and is thrilled at the idea of seeing what else is out there while John doesn't want to leave the familiarity of his favorite hiking trails and his friends behind. When taking one last hike before they leave for good, the siblings stumble upon a mysterious cave and make the most shocking discovery: ancient Egypt lies on the other side. John wants nothing more than to return home before the door closes, leaving them trapped in Egypt forever, but Sarah longs to see what the world of the past has in store. Now they're in for a whole new adventure where they meet new friends, encounter dangerous cobras, solve the mystery of a tomb robbery, and fight to find their way back home, all while solving an even grander mystery that neither saw coming.
Ben Gartner delivers a story that brings a history lesson to life through an action-packed mystery and adventure that teaches kids about ancient Egypt. The mystery they uncover revolves around the culture during the time, specifically centering around the tombs. The historical details bring the setting to life by being subtly woven into the daily lives of the characters and through lessons taught to John and Sarah as the story progresses. The story teaches about the beliefs during the time and even their equivalent of a board game. The two siblings have vastly different personalities. Their difference of opinion creates a minor conflict between them which is worked out throughout the adventure as they're pushed to work as a team to solve a mystery, help their new friends, and find a way to return home.
The tone is whimsical and lighthearted, serving up an equal amount of discovery as it does adventure while subtly educating children about ancient Egypt in a way that never feels like a lesson. The story is a great read for all ages as it's enjoyable with action-packed moments and a mystery with several exciting twists and turns. Gartner captures key details of Egypt that help create a stunning visual for children. The Eye of Ra is a delightful tale of adventure and mystery that will make children fall in love with history and discover ancient Egypt while delivering action-packed moments, surprising moments, and relatable characters.