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


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."

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?

Rose Behar

The Egypt Game is a great character-centric piece of kid’s fiction written/set in the 60s. The book is about a group of six kids, all beautifully sketched, three dimensional characters, who create a made-up Egypt game in the backyard of a creepy old man’s junk shop (as you do in the 60s).Then a child in the neighborhood gets murdered. I would add “and the kids get together to investigate the crime,” but that’s not what happens. The kids are just pretty preoccupied with their game. I kept expecting the book to get out of the character development stage and in to the actual meat of the plot, but the only true bit of action occurs right at the end of the novel, in a sort of all-of-a-sudden surprise. When the kids find out who the murderer was, it’s not even a main character. This book is not about mystery, plot or adventure- and yet it still has the fantastic tension of a book where you really, really care about the characters. Each of the kids have such defined characters and the dialogue is so pitch-perfect that you can’t help but be fascinated even by the smallest and most mundane events in the story.It is a really impressive piece of work in that respect, and even though it was a little slow and “literary” for my taste, Snyder definitely earned my respect for being a deft hand at portraying realistic childhood life.

Cat Grimalkin Niedzwiecki

This book is cute and light, and makes me appreciate the headlands of childhood that reach into the mysterious waters of adventure young children like to splash or slosh into for escape - in order to add breadth and depth or even a modicum of knowledge to add to the grey matter in them that yearn for exploration. However, I arrived at the chapter where a little girl was murdered, and now I am putting the book down for a spell. There is probably a fireball finale at the end of the story, but I am not in the mood to slosh past an easy, mediocre climax that - that does not stop the children characters from pursuing a dangerous game, in the name of an evil evil Egyptian God. This book was a 3 time Newberry Honor award winner!


Have you ever thought of the Egypt game? In the Egypt Game April and Melanie envent a game called THE EGYPT GAME.The game takes place at the Casa Rosada or the Pink House.The a little girl gets killed.So the Egypt gand can not finish their journey to Egypt.Do you think the Egypt Gang will finish their game? In the dark trashy alley is were the egypt game all started.Melanie and April were very intrested in Egypt,so they started a game focesed on Egypt and they made a gang called THE EGYPT GANG.The members of that gang are,Melanie,April,Marshall,Elizabeth,Ken and Toby. In the Egypt gang their are a lot of uniqe people.April is a confident and courages person.Elizabeth is chinese,doutful and nice.Melanie is an African American,has braids on her hairand i helpful.Marshall is the sister of Melanie.Ken and Toby are in the 6th grade and are best friends.Every one of them were proud to be part of the Egypt Gang. The conflict of the story is when a little girl from the neighborhood dies.So the mothers of the Egypt Gang Members get worried so the moms get over protected.So their moms took them everyday to school and they did not let them play outside any more.Then their mothers forgot about that and everything went back to normal but it was December so everyone was so busy buying gifts.So the Egypt Gang did not play the game for a really long time. The Egypt game is a mystery book.It is based on a game called Egypt.The auother of this book is Zilpha Keatley Snyder.This auother really did take time to describe all the characters in thie book.This book takes place in the city.This book had an amazing plot and i give this book 4 stars.This story reminds me of 6th grade because we learned a lot about Egypt. THE EGYPT GAME!!

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 Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers (1967)Age: Children 9+Species: HumanRating: 4/5Interest: The Banned Reads Project/ 200 in 2011I was actually surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. Since it's for very young readers, I wasn't expecting to like it or be able to relate to it. Not to mention the fact that the book was first published in 1967 about 24 years before I was even born.I probably couldn't have been more wrong. The Egypt Game is actually pretty adult for the audience it's aimed for. There's murder, recreated Egyptian ceremonies and even attempted kidnapping. All of these subjects are dealt with in a "childish" manner but are told through an omnipotent and older narrator. It makes for an interesting contrast at times, but I think I would have enjoyed the book more if the kids were actually telling the stories themselves.The only things I had a problem with were a description of "mummifying" a dead bird and the subject of child death. The bird scene wasn't especially graphic. It's simply the thought of children handling a dead, rotting bird and doing things to it which makes me squirm a little inside. A child's death in a book is not something I want to read about, but if I have to, I prefer it to have meaning. The child killed in The Egypt Game really had no purpose to me in the end which frustrated me.Overall The Egypt Game was a fun, imaginative book that I feel a lot of kids would love. But I would suggest waiting until kids are the right age to let them read it though.Happy reading,My Summer Girl

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.

Shawn Dorn

The Egypt Game is a realistic fiction book written by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. It is about a group of kids that use a storage yard for a place to play. They use their imaginations to create a Egypt type game. Originally it started with just three people then the game grew to five. They decorated the storage yard to make it look like Egypt itself. They created molded gods and later they do rituals through out of the book. Later in the story there becomes a murderer who kills children at night. The group doesn't go to Egypt for weeks because of the murder that takes place in town, until finally their parents let up on the subject. One night one of the characters go out to get their math book at night and gets attacked by the murderer but is saved by the owner of the storage yard they play in. The murderer is caught and sent to a mental hospital. The main characters in the story are April, Melanie, Marshall, Elizabeth, Ken, Toby, and the professor also known as Dr. Huddleson. April is a Hollywood girl who her mother sends her to live with her grandmother she hardly knew. Melanie is the first friend April makes who is an African American who loves to play make paper families and pretend. Marshall is the younger toddler of Melanie who always carries his stuffed octopus Security. Elizabeth is an Asian American who is very short who is a gentle shy girl. Ken is also and Asian American who is best friends with Toby and always follows him, he doesn't care much for the Egypt Game. Toby is a class clown out of school, he and April make up most of the rituals. Ken is also a good actor. Dr. Huddleston is the quiet and old man who works at his dead wife's antic shop. The setting takes place, in a town in California. The year is most likely in the 1970’s-1990’s. One of the main scenes is the Casa Rosada, and apartment house where April, Melanie, Marshall and Elizabeth live at. The storage yard in the professor’s backyard. The group of kids use it as Egypt, they decorated it with shrines of Set, Nefertiti, and Thoth, there also hieroglyphics drawn on places. The school they go to also plays a small part in the setting, since that is were the talk about Egypt and issues; mostly at recess on the playground. The theme of the story is never judge someone before you get to know them, most people didn't care for the professor since he was creepy and never was social but in reality he was a nice quiet man who later saves April from a murderer who targets kids at night and gives the group the key to his backyard. Some people can surprise you by who they really are. This book can be read by younger children such in elementary and maybe middle school since it is not that difficult to read. This is also for people who loves pretend and Ancient Egypt. I’m not a big fan of this book because to me it was a bit boring until the end, I only read it cause it was of course about Egypt.


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.


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.

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.


First published in 1967, this book was written around the time I was the same age as the youngest member of the characters. It was awarded a Newbery Honor in its day and I think I can figure out why. It features a cast of characters that is diverse, and a neighborhood that is a little run down and seedy, and single mothers (and grandmothers) raising their children. Coming off the 1950s Leave It to Beaver Generation, this book would have seemed pretty edgy.I think it doesn't play as well with current audiences, however. The first half of the book moves way too slowly and there is the question of children being allowed to run wild all day without any parental supervision. Will kids buy it? Hmm.I don't understand the reviews that say this is banned book. Really? I can't think of anything in it that is ban-worthy, except some people might think that children shouldn't be playing at worshipping Egyptian gods and goddesses. But it is clearly a child's pretend game, and does speak to a child's imagination being more entertaining than basketball or television.

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.

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