Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I swear to god I am reading a novel these days, but I'm finding it a bit of a slog. It's a big name one, so I want to actually finish it, and let y'all know what I think, but meantime, I keep picking up picture books to tide me over!

Is it just me, or are there always books labelled the "oldest story in the world" coming out? Muti's Necklace is the latest to claim that honour, and though I can't say if it's true or not, it's most definitely a good story.

Muti lives in ancient Egypt, and her most treasured possession is a necklace made for her by her father. As Muti grows, the necklace goes from hanging down to her tummy to being a much smaller fit, but no matter the size, Muti always wears the necklace that has happy memories of her family attached. One day, Muti goes to work at the palace of the Pharaoh. Mostly she washes dishes and laundry, but one day on a whim, the Pharaoh decides that his pleasure boat will be rowed only by beautiful maidens. Which sounds dirty, but really, it's not! Anyway, Muti gets to be lead rower, and on their first day out everything seems to be going well. Until Muti's necklace falls into the water! How's that for bad luck? Anyway, Muti refuses to row any further, despite threats from the Pharaoh's captain, the Pharaoh himself, and even the creepy magician. Fortunately, the magician is not all creepiness, and he magically lowers the boat into the lake, so Muti can retrieve her necklace. Once that's done, the boat-rowing continues uneventfully. Except that Pharaoh can't stop thinking about this brave girl who stood up to everyone for something she treasured. He summons her forth and proposes to marry her. I think this is my favourite part of the whole book, here. Muti says no, and that really, she'd much rather go home and spend time with the family she loves. And so she does.

Whether or not this story is the oldest in the world is irrelevant. It's a good story, and its well told, and would go well in any fairy tale collection. I only have one teeny, tiny beef. Rebecca Guay's illustrations are gorgeous, no doubt about it, but the people are like, tanned white people. With blue eyes and everything. Last I checked, Egypt is full of brown people. I have a feeling Guay is mixing up ancient Egypt with the Greek ruled Egypt of Cleopatra. To be fair, it is a small beef, because, frankly, the illustrations are gorgeous. So lush and wonderful.

Muti's Necklace written by Louise Hawes illustrated by Rebecca Guay
ISBN 0618535837
32 pages


  • At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Louise Hawes said…

    Hey, BG,
    I just stumbled on your response to my picture book, Muti's Necklace. It is such a giant treat when someone "gets" your work. Keep on reading!And thanks!
    Louise Hawes
    P.S. Given your flair for history, I'd love to know what you think of my novel about the Italian Renaissance, The Vanishing Point :-)


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