Thursday, September 4, 2014

Kids find adventure in “Jed, The Forgotten Egyptian Prince” by Jeanette Dixon #bookreview

From the time I was 7 or 8 years old you could find me with my nose buried in a book. That love of reading followed me well into adulthood and, when I had children, that love of reading passed onto them. It’s true, when children see you reading they often follow suit (doesn’t hurt to give them books as gifts as well as squeal with excitement when you get a new one).

The majority of my children have caught the I-love-to-read bug – three outta four ain’t bad, and my son seems to have an extra dose of that gene.  I’ve recently noticed quite a few books geared toward our younger population that also appeal to young men so I’ve been on the lookout with my son in mind. It’s a must around here) where he finds himself surrounded by females and girl-oriented materials.

When I was contacted about reviewing Jeanette Dixon’s book, “Jed, The Forgotten Egyptian Prince” I responded in the affirmative because it sounded like one my son Andre would like to read.

As excerpt from the book’s back cover:

Fourteen-year-old Jed Collins is en route to Egypt with his parents and he’s worried that he won’t be worthy of that trust and responsibility. His low self-esteem hinders his confidence, but everything is about to change.

In a village market, an old Egyptian woman gives him a valuable scarab ring and cryptic information about his real identity. Confused, he keeps the information to himself, but events soon give him the courage to solve the mystery on his own. His attention is drawn to a hawk circling high above a nearby cliff. Something tells him that the hawk is actually a messenger. He shares his hunch with the team and soon finds himself granted the honor of first descent into a newly discovered ancient tomb. Inside the tomb, though, what starts out as a frightening fall turns into a magical adventure through time.

He awakes in ancient Egypt. There, he is known as Prince Djedefre, Djed for short, first son to the pharaoh. Djed and his new best friend, Arki, encounter traitors, treachery, and tomb robbers. It’s a time of great mystery and magic for a young man stolen from his own time. Can he find his way home or is he destined to live out his new life in an ancient land?

Or was it a dream?

My son read that description and was excited to read the book, but a chapter or two into it his excitement tapered off. Each time I asked him about the book he said he liked it but… and his voice would trail off again.

Finally, I corralled him so he could give me his thoughts of the book and an explanation of what was taking him so long to read it. I’d noticed he’d read and finished a couple of books since beginning.

“I like it but it is just talking about him about to go on an adventure and he just got the ring… (silence, with a raised eyebrow from me) … they’re talking about the ancient Egyptian tombs they want to find and someone in it… (more silence.)” After some more prompting he came up with “it’s slow…”

My son has little patience for anything slow, and even though he said he was going to finish reading it he kept picking up and finishing other books. I finally began reading it…

“Do scarab beetles really eat the flesh off of people?” begins the book. That’s an excellent one that would capture the attention of any young person.

Like Andre, I read about the beginning of Jed and his parents’ adventure to Egypt to participate in excavations of ancient sites along with the details in preparing for that and his growing excitement. I read about his first views of towering pyramids and fields of vegetables crisscrossed with irrigation canals from the Nile, and I read about the magnificent, descriptive prose the author weaves. But, like Andre, I started getting bored.

When, in chapter two, Jed encounters the hawk that’s mentioned in the description, the story picks up a bit. By the end of chapter two Jed literally falls into the archeological find and discovers the beginning of his new life. Adventure? Or dream? If you can patiently enjoy the lovely descriptive scenarios and the somewhat tiring dialogue you can enjoy Jed’s Egyptian Prince experience.

Normally I enjoy young adult novels, but I’m not sure this one is quite my speed. If you know your young reader will enjoy the story of a regular kid on an amazing, slow, beautifully crafted adventure then “Jed, The Forgotten Egyptian Prince” by Jeanette Dixon is the ideal book. Eventually Andre, as will I, will pick up the book again to enjoy the story as well.

What book has your youngster read lately?