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Children fascinated by ancient Egypt and hieroglyphs should enjoy this retelling based on a tale found on an ancient papyrus scroll from the 19th century B.C.E. The sole survivor of a shipwreck relates being washed up on the shore of a paradisiacal “Island of the Soul” inhabited only by a huge serpent. As the sailor and serpent become friends, the creature tells how he lost his family and predicts the man’s rescue, after which the island “will disappear forever under the waves, but it will always be with you, for it lives in your heart.” The story, with its mystical snake and mysterious island, will hold readers’ interest. The book is most successful, however, as a peek into ancient Egyptian folklore, art, and language.

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Action and Adventure