The Unofficial Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife

by | Mar 29, 2023 | Book Review, Illustrated book, Non-Fiction

Unofficial guide to the Ancient Egyptian afterlife (cover)

Book Details

The Unofficial Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife
Sophie Berger, illus. Laura Winstone. London: Cicada Books, hb, 978 1 8006 6012 0, 2022, £12.99, 32pp.
Non-fiction, picture book, 6-11 years

Ancient Egypt has always been an endless inspiration for children’s books, whether fiction or non-fiction.

Recently, this topic has acquired its own shelf space making it very tricky and challenging for children’s authors to stand out. Yet, Sophie Berger and Laura Winstone have found a way to present this subject in a fresh and engaging way thanks to the witty narration style and quirky illustrations.

The ‘tour’ through the afterlife of Ancient Egyptians is given by Bastet the Cat, a used-to-be Pharaoh’s cat, who was mummified after her owner’s death to accompany him for luck. As a mummy, Bastet provides readers with a first-hand (or rather a first-paw) account of what follows after death. After a brief introduction to the most important Egyptian gods, Bastet explains the mummification process (“not to be tried at home”!) as well as funeral and burial rituals, the pyramids and hieroglyphics. Our feline guide navigates readers through the macabre realm of the dead with a great deal of self-irony and humour (think of the Horrible Histories series) which is bound to appeal to children and grown-ups alike.

Information is laid out across the bright colourful illustrations without overloading the pages; this makes it easy to process and understand. The book includes a simplified hieroglyphic alphabet and a glossary of terms.

An accessible and humorous read, The Unofficial Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife, will be indispensable in helping readers understand and study the Ancient Egyptians.


Review by Ekaterina Shatalova