Egyptian Escape

Written by Emma Dodd (illus.) K. A. Gerrard
Review by Elizabeth Hawksley

In Charlie and his dog Bandit’s second time travel adventure, splendidly illustrated by Emma Dodd, Charlie finds himself in Egypt in 1906. It is the heyday of British archaeology and the beginnings of Egyptology. Charlie meets Jack and Poppy (a budding suffragette) who are there with their grandfather, Professor Honeycut (worryingly, gone missing) who is excavating Ancient Egyptian tombs. He was last seen looking for the fabled Eye of Pakhet, rumoured to be cursed. All Charlie wants is to find Bandit.

But there are others on the trail of the Eye of Pakhet: the professor’s servant, Haru, and the creepy Dr Bull, who is determined to take over the dig and seize the Eye of Pakhet, which he believes to be a fabulous jewel. They are hot on the children’s trail.

In their attempts to escape, Charlie, Jack and Poppy find themselves transported back to 1500 B.C., to the reign of Queen Hatshepsut, a powerful female Pharaoh who has an unpleasant way with intruders. Can the friends meet up with Professor Honeycut and Bandit, find the Eye of Pakhet and outwit their enemies?

I enjoyed this lively adventure. I liked the stop off in 1906 – a time when British archaeologists were particularly intrepid. K. A. Gerrard and Emma Dodd have plainly done their research. Charlie’s notebook at the end gives the reader the essential historical facts, not only about Hatshepsut’s extraordinary reign but also about Egyptology in the early 20th Century; the Rosetta stone and the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs; Howard Carter and the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun; mummification; the temple of Pakhet; and the suffragette movement.

This is more than just a fun read, readers will learn a lot, too, in an interesting and non-pedantic way. Children, especially boys, of 6 plus should enjoy this book. Recommended.