My 9 year old worked hard this Fall, helping a neighbor clear out tree limbs from a tree that had needed trimmed. When we realized the neighbor didn’t want the limbs anymore, he asked if he could have them for a project. He wanted to make some tree blocks for his brother and sisters for the holidays. We carefully looked over the limbs for the best ones and neatly stacked them up against the house so that we could cut them the next evening.
The next day we got home after a field trip and realized that the electric company, who had been trimming trees along electrical wires, had seen our neatly stacked limbs and apparently decided to dispose of them for us. Carefully laid plans for a young buy’s gift for his siblings were quickly waylaid. A friend offered a couple of logs, and we once again planned to make some tree blocks to go with our standard unit blocks. When I tried to help him cut them, we quickly realized that our saw was not appropriate for the size logs we had. Once again, he needed a new gift idea.
As Yule approached and we were running out of time for him to make something, we took a trip to the store. Looking around, he found some small and inexpensive wooden boxes that were perfet for treasure boxes. He picked out a different color of paint for each person and painted them at home. Then he used a black sharpie marker to write each of their names in Egyptian heiroglyphics. These were well received. All of the kids have stashed little treasures away in them. My four year old even listed his treasure box as one of his favorite gifts.
As fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, my children and I were excited about his newest series, The Kane Chronicles. Where Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Lost Heroes focus on Greek and Roman mythology, The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) addresses many aspects of Egyptian mythology.
I, myself, am not as knowledgable about Egyptian gods and myths, so it was nice to look more into this aspect of culture, belief, and history. I also loved that the main characters are bi-racial. Just as good books with strong female leads are often hard to find, strong characters of other minority groups are even more difficult to find. Riordan’s small glimpse in the previously separate lives of Carter and Sadie, who exhibit different physical traits, reveals prejudice still felt by many, providing strong bi-racial characters, along with a confident female lead.
While we enjoyed this book and learned more about Egyptian mythology in the process, I’ll admit that I didn’t like it as well as The Lost Heroes series or even the first Percy Jackson series. The book alternates between characters, a style which Riordan often utilizes. However, this book is written as though Carter and Sadie are telling the story and recording it. The conversational retelling was less enjoyable to me. I noticed that my 8 year old, normally my child to laugh out loud as I read to teh kids, didn’t find the book nearly as humorous as The Lost Heroes. That being said, I’m certain my children will reread the book and they are looking forward to the second book in the series.