The Egypt Game (Game, #1)

ISBN: 0808553038
ISBN 13: 9780808553038
By: Zilpha Keatley Snyder

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About this book

The first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she's not sure they'll have anything in common. But she soon discovers that they both love anything to do with ancient Egypt. When they stumble upon a deserted storage yard behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio Shop, Melanie and April decide it's the perfect sport for the Egypt Game.Before long there are six Egyptians instead of two. After school and on weekends they all meet to wear costumes, hold ceremonies, and work on their secret code.Everyone thinks it's just a game, until strange things begin happening to the players. Has the Egypt Game gone too far?

Reader's Thoughts


All small people should read this book. I was obsessed with this in 4th grade, when I was sure I was going to grow up to be an archeologist. The book convinces kids that history is awesome. Which it is.

Jasmine Burk

** spoiler alert ** I remember having this book read to me in the 6th grade, and I absolutely fell in love with it. Then again, I was amazed by Egyptian stuff all around, so loving this book just came naturally to me. This book is about a girl named April, whose mother is trying to make it big in Hollywood, so April gets stuck with her grandmother. April quickly makes friends with a neighbor Melanie, and make a connection over a love for books. With Melanie's younger brother, the three make a game called the Egypt Game in secret in the back yard of an Antique store, which they soon call Egypt. The book goes through the adventures of these three, with other characters being included in the game as the book goes on. At one point, a murder makes it difficult to get to Egypt, but they eventually devise a plan to get back and continue their game.This book is a wonderful read, and is perfect to read while learning about the Ancient Egyptians, or anytime for that matter. This shows how children can incorporate what they are learning into games, and reminds this generation to be active and creative. I love this book, and will definitely have a copy in my classroom, regardless of what grade I am teaching, because it connects to all ages. I love it!


The book "The Egypt Game" is a well written and enjoyable children's novel. I remember reading this when I was a kid. It starts off with two friends discovering a storage yard and creating an imaginary world of Egypt with one of the girl's younger brothers. They study and start to recreate their own interpretations of Egypt within this yard and pretty soon several other kids are joining in on their game. The kids are restrained from going to the yard do to a recent murder. One of the main girls, April, returns one night to the yard and is attacked by the murderer. The professor swoops in and saves the day!This is an easy read and enjoyable for all ages. I could use this book in a 5th or 6th grade classroom while studying Egypt in geography or history. I could even read this aloud to some slightly younger children after recess or to give a much needed break throughout the day. This story is easy to follow and you could build class plans off of this for any subject. It would be a great way to do thematic learning for some older children without making it feel dumbed down.

Anastasia Tuckness

This book features a few children who live near each other in a big city. They find a vacant lot and set up an Egyptian temple of sorts. There are both girls and boys involved although the girls are primary. They are a nice multicultural assortment, which is interesting since this was written so long ago. I love the new cover, and the book also features some original black and white illustrations throughout.I would recommend this book to families who enjoy reading books together, especially those who like to go back and read through the Newberys. Some families may have some hesitation about the level of pretend idol worship in the book, and since it doesn't really show up until halfway through, it would be worth warning families with strong religious convictions about that element. The book (by the end) makes it clear that there is no true spiritual element to what is going on, so many families will be happy to read it together and discuss the issue with their children.The book's strongest feature is the characters: a young girl staying with her grandma because her mom left her, a 4-year-old genius boy who has a security octopus, a mysterious professor who owns a junk shop, a boy who is a cool kid at school, and more make the story interesting.

Alissa Bach

Makes a good follow-up to Rick Riordan's "Red Pyramid"... although not nearly as involved.I read this one in 3rd grade. It was on the "Banned and Challenged" book display and my parents, always being advocates of allowing me to explore and talk about any and all ideas (even controversial ones), picked it out for me to read. I remember loving it.Still DO love it, in fact! True that the way the characters behave is a bit dated and, therefore, kids of today may find it hard to relate (a complaint made by other reviewers). However, one must remember that this book was originally published in the 1960s. So of course the kids in the story are going to behave differently than the kids of today. One thing I love about this book is it's wonderfully imaginative! The characters, not having the modern-day luxuries (distractions?) of Wii, X-box, iPods, or 10,000 TV channels to choose from, create a whole complex and detailed imaginary world in which to spend their spare time. To April, Melanie, Marshall, Elizabeth, Ken, and Toby, the vacent lot filled with discards from a nearby second-hand store actually becomes the land of Ancient Egypt--complete with detailed costumes and customs. I would absolutely recommend this to kids, parents, teachers, and friends with school-aged kids. It provides the foundation for discussions about diversity, friendship, learning about other cultures, and, of course, learning to use the imagination (something that seems far too absent among kids nowdays).5 Stars. And more :)

Whitney Tran

"The Egypt Game", by Zilpha Keatley Snyder was a great a book. I liked this book because it made me think how people judges others by their appearance, not their personality. For example, when April Hall saw and judged the professor, "She gazed at the Professor in horror.Could it have been? Had he really been the murderer?" (pg.188) This quote explains how April judged and questioned the professor when she saw him. This proves that April judged the professor by his appearance because she thought that he was the murderer and she gazed at the professor in horror when she saw his face. I can infer that April judged the professor by his appearance because as a rule, if someone look at someone with curiosity and wonder, they would most likely judged someone. Therefore, the author probably wants people to know others' personality first, rather than judge others' by their appearance.

Michael Klein

A Newbury Honor Book? Really? While this was an interesting story, I found the children to not behave in the manner of actual children - speaking wisely beyond their years and with adult emotions - emotions we might like them to have, but that for the most part, they do not. Interesting to note that the NY Times Book Review (quoted on the inside cover) says the author "[presents:] contemporary children as they talk and act on their own." Yeah, I don't think so.The story, whlie interesting, is somewhat choppy. Months are covered by a single line, then many paragraphs describe a walk of a few blocks. Oh, and in the middle there is casually mentioned a child murderer in the neighborhood. A what?! Yeah, that's what I thought too. And then that plot goes away for 1/4 of the novel until returning at the end.I'd say it's better than many YA novels I've read recently, but it was still uneven.


This book gets an extra star just because it is such a sweet time capsule to the 60s. For example, the four-year-old has never been trick or treating, but he's been in demonstrations "for things like Peace and Freedom." It's a little funny because it's all about kids (of diverse ages and races - yay!) using their imaginations to play the Egypt Game, which has them dressing up and pretending to have elaborate ceremonies for Egyptian gods. I'm sure this is the kind of thing that would get it banned by, say, church groups. There's some really scary stuff too, like a little girl in their neighborhood who is killed. It just doesn't seem like the kind of thing that gets published for middle graders these days, even though it's a Newbery Honor book."Imagination is a great thing in long dull hours, but it's a real curse in a dark alley, and April's imagination had always been out of the ordinary."


I read this book in the third or fourth grade for the first time, and I've always remembered it as one of my childhood favourites. Some reviews have suggested that the children are too unlike actual children (in terms of emotional maturity for the most part) to offer young readers relatability, but I couldn't disagree more. Children strive to meet expectations and I think that presenting smart, mature, creative characters working together to generate a fantasy world of historical exploration can only serve to better those children who read about them. Maybe some children don't sound, think or feel the way that the children in this book do, but some definitely do, and for those children, books that reflect that can help to reassure them. The story is slow to start and has some weird temporal inconsistencies, but let's not forget that it's imaginative and quite frankly, pretty badass. Not to mention that it inspired an eight year old me to a passion for history and museums and archaeology; a passion that it turns out no one really wants to pay you for, but is, nonetheless, totally awesome.

Dianna Caley

This is a good read for any child who is struggling with a recent move or absent parents. It should also be appealing to any child who likes imagination games.


When April Hall moved in to the "Casa Rosada" she meets a girl named Melanie Ross. They become best friends and share many interests, including Egypt. Wen they find an old storage yard after reading every book in the library about Egypt, they use old boxes, junk, and their imaginations to make the old yard look like an Egypt temple. They first had just 2 people, but when others come along, the game gets more and more intense, and weird things start happening, will the game have to end?

Lars Guthrie

There are so many things to like about this extraordinary book that I had somehow missed previously. I'm actually not sure if I had read it completely through before, probably because it is another novel that I consider over-assigned in schools.'The Egypt Game' also carries the burden of being dated. It was published in 1967 when kids said "neat" a lot more and had to go to the library to find out about ancient Egypt, instead of looking online. No cell phones here. Of course, that could be viewed as a plus.'Imagination is a great thing in long dull hours, but it’s a real curse in a dark alley…,' Snyder tells us, and those words are the key to a story where a darker reality, one not found in most children's books, lurks in the dusty shadows of a town not unlike Berleley, California.What you imagine is never senseless. While it can help you escape your troubles, it can't rescue you. What can rescue you are friends and protectors. Paradoxically, imagination can lead you to them. What better theme for a children's novel than the limitations, as well as the saving graces, of imagination.The protagonist of 'Egypt Game' is a delightfully complex sixth grader, April Hall, willful, stubborn, clever, ready to fight at the slightest of challenges, insecure, vulnerable, and the possessor of a powerful and active imagination, and a high sense of drama. When her mother decides a singing and acting career comes ahead of a daughter, April resentfully goes off to live with her grandmother.Moving into the Casa Rosada apartment building, though, is the beginning of a close connection with Melanie Ross, the luckiest of friendships for April. Melanie is April's match in intelligence and imagination, and far wiser in social matters. It is her influence that helps April to negotiate a new home, a new neighborhood, and a new school.April's protectors are found in unlikely places. One turns out to be Melanie's self-assured and laconic little brother, Marshall. Another is located in the same dusty shadows where evil hides.That is just the beginning of an engaging and expansive cast of characters, of different ages and races. Snyder manages to instill something evocative and real in even the most minor of them, as well as to impart a sense of wonder about ancient Egypt and its mythology that sparked my curiosity, and made 'The Egypt Game' a good companion piece to 'The Red Pyramid.' She also tells a great story.Highly recommended.

Alisha Painter

The Egypt Game is a book about a group of latchkey kids growing up in the 1970's in California. These kids all live in the same apartment house, Casa Rosada. April comes from Hollywood where she lived with her mother to live with her grandmother, Caroline. Melanie and Marshall live in the apartment house already and are asked to invite April through lunch. In the beginning, they don't have much in common. April looks different with her hair piled on top of her head and false eyelashes, but as they go to school that fall, they realize they both relate of their love of Egypt. They come across a vacant and enclosed lot behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio Shop and the Egypt game begins. In the beginning of the game, it was only April, Marshall, and Melanie, but the game grows over time. They keep it a secret from adults and it becomes they own safe place, imaginary world. It was interesting to see how the characters connected to one another and how their imagined world came to life. Although dated, I felt many students/readers could relate to this story and use their own imagination to picture the Egypt game as it took place.


This book was honestly a pleasant surprise for me. It had been sitting on my shelf for about a year now, just waiting to be read. And always, I would pick up the book, read the first few pages, and then set it down again.However, I finally decided to make it beyond the first few pages. And I was surprised to find that once I started reading it, I couldn't set it down. It wasn't the most amazing book I have ever read - but its lovely use of unpredictable foreshadowing is what won it an extra star for me.At the surface, the book is about a group of kids, ages 4 through 11, that are inspired enough by Egypt to create their own fictional world in the backyard of one questionable antique dealer. The story of Egypt, and how the world springs to mind in their imagination, is a cute way to pass the time and is slightly entertaining.But for me, that isn't enough, which is why I passed the book over so many times. I liked the parts of the story that were hidden in the folds of the pages, so to speak. Friendship, community, and family were all addressed in this book. Acceptance of everyone is a key subject. Little life lessons are hidden in every chapter.But the story behind the story is what really drove me to this book. A town full of suspicion and hatred, all for the wrong person - and the only people to set things right are a small group of kids, who don't even understand that by being themselves they have righted a wrong, and set an old man free from his misery.You really have to be in the mood to read this kind of story, but should you ever find yourself in such a mood, I highly recommend that you read this book. For me, it has become a timeless classic, and I hope that it shall become the same for you.


A ragtag group of children form a secret society, complete with an oracular statue, in an abandoned lot. To this day, I eye abandoned lots in the hopes of having my own Egypt Game.

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