Review Blog

Jan 17 2012

The Jewel Fish of Karnak by Graeme Base

cover image

Penguin, 2011.
(Ages: 5-11) Reminiscent of The Legend of the Golden Snail this newest Graeme Base book takes us on a visually stunning journey through Ancient Egypt where Jackal and Ibis are taught an important lesson about theft and greed. While pleasant the plot takes backseat in this book (as they often do when Graeme Base is involved) to the striking illustrations and the 'mystery' that needs to be solved. To solve the mystery one must work out the true appearance of the precious Jewel Fish. Heading to Graeme Base's website will inform you whether you have solved the mystery and reward you with a printable Jewel Fish template. I was quite disconcerted when I began reading this book as I was never very successful at cracking Graeme Base's codes but I didn't have much trouble with this one at all (are they getting easier or am I getting smarter?!) The dust cover has some added value in that it contains some interesting factual information about Ancient Egyptian life and tells us more about some of the more obscure words used in the story such as 'coracle' (an Egyptian boat made from papyrus reeds). Overall, the illustrations are spectacular and I had a surprising amount of fun going online to see if I had cracked the code (there are also hints available if you are struggling) but the story is ultimately unremarkable. But can you say no to Graeme Base?!
Nicole Smith-Forrest

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