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3.9 out of 5 stars
CodeQuest: Hieroglyphs
Format: HardcoverChange
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I think this would be a great item for any child doing an Egyptian project/coursework at school, think alot of fun could be had if it were taken into school and the class take a look at it.

The quality of the book itself (hardbacked) and full of colourful pictures is just spot on. That combined with the cd that comes with it, an altogether super item.

It tells the tale of 'The Golden Cat', I have read it along with our 8 year old, (he thought that the code breaking was just fab. even spelt out his favourite word (penguin) with it. Along with other sentences, actually started to send us all notes in the code (hieroglyphs) as he thought it such a hit. Wished I had kept it for the summer holidays, as it is something that could keep the kids (or even adults), yes, I had a crack at trying to break the codes too, entertained for a while.

There is such a lot of information about egyptian life in both the book and the cd. You don't have to use the cd to read and look through the book though as the book on its own is so interesting.

A great value item and a good idea for a christmas present for any girl or boy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The `Mystery of the Golden Cat' is a short story told in words and pictures with its setting as Egypt and with the main protagonist as an archaeologist similar to `Indiana Jones'. The story embodies much information on the beliefs and practices of Ancient Egyptians and is pitched so young readers will assimilate cultural knowledge whilst being enthralled by the unwinding plot. However the prime purpose of the package is to be a code quest. It starts simply by initially making sense of a smudged label, and the second code is really an indicator of how easy it is to read meaning into sentences without vowels - and this should present no problems to a young `text' generation. The first real challenges are to read names from the cartouches of gods and the name of a possible grave robber. This involves symbols for sounds as well as alphabet letters, further complicated by the rearrangement of hieroglyphs, and so presents the most difficult aspect of the quest. Other clues are more straight forward, especially when relying on ideograms which are readily understood picture symbols or even more self evident `storyboard' pictures.

The story is well conceived with a persuasive ending, but it is possibly too obvious and it is not strictly necessary to decode the various queries, of which only half a dozen are demanding. The concept of the `Mystery of the Golden Cat' is sound, but the story could have been longer, and it could have been made increasingly intricate with a greater number of codes to decipher. Perhaps this criticism can be overcome by the accompanying CD which contains all hieroglyphs found in the story book including `determinatives' which are additional ideograms at the end of words to add meaning and indicate where the next word starts. This leads on to construction of sentences and to written communications via the CD's library of hieroglyphic characters. My own 10 year old PC encountered difficulties with font types and sizes, yet no doubt 10 year old internet generation users will readily avail themselves of guidance on installing fonts for their specific operating systems. As suggested in the Amazon product description this will allow the targeted readership of 9+ years to exchange secret messages. Certainly there appears to be plenty on the CD to provide hours of imaginative play and make believe beyond the basic story of `Mystery of the Golden Cat'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 7 November 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I ordered this with the idea I'd read it with my 6 year old so we could do the puzzles together. Somehow that never seemed to work. I showed it to my daughter a few times but she never seemed to excited about it. I know she flipped through it but I don't think she ever did the puzzles. I think she might be a bit too young for it. Also, she's more interested in Greek mythology. I'm hoping after Greek mythology, we can look at Egyptian and then this book will be perfect for her.

The book itself is very informative with lots of little factoids and bubbles of information. It begins with a good description of how to use the book, life in ancient Egypt, hieroglyphics, mummification, etc. The description and detail given is fairly introductory but still quite informative. If you already know a fair amount about this period in history, you probably won't learn much new information.

It's not until about 10 pages into the book that the fictional story begins. Though it's written in the first person, the writing style gave me the feel of the old Infocom games such as Zork. "I was still laughing when a woman bumped into me. As I stumbled and fell, I caught sight of a green scarf held in place by a golden, cat-shaped brooch." As you can see, the author doesn't add a lot of description or emotion into his writing. There's just enough to move the plot along. But I suppose you're not buying the book just for it's prose, it is more of a factual book with a game in it as well. As you move through the mystery, you learn more about codes and even the Rosetta Stone.

The book is fun to read through and informative for the younger audience. I think once my daughter decides to give it her full attention, she'll really enjoy it. It would be nice if the story were written a bit better, but all in all, it's still a good book and one worth having if you're interested in ancient Egyptian culture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I used to love factual books when I was in primary school. Our school didn't have a library so I bought mine from the kid's department in the long gone James Thin bookshops. This Codebreakers book works mostly in the same way as a factual book but also intersperses a treasure hunt story with an Indiana Jones-type character looking for a golden cat. So as well as learning about ancient Egypt with lots of interesting facts and nice photographs it'll give the kids something to do for a while. A CD-rom is also included for them to make their own hieroglyphs. The book itself is a lovely hardback with large, glossy pages. There are others in this series, which I am sure will be just as good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a very well produced book, hardbound, in full colour, with a cleverly placed CD-ROM included build into the cover. However, it's a rather short book with a fairly light story which requires the ability to read hieroglyphs. The CD-ROM allows the user to create their own.

I'm afraid that my 9 year old son, whilst interested in ancient Egypt (but not as much as Dr Who!), really found the book too lightweight. He wasn't greatly interested in the CD or the story and puzzels posed by the shortish texts. I think there are better children's books out there covering this topic. This book tends to be all presentation with little content.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I got this book as it links to a topic (Ancient Egyptians) going on at school with an 8 year old. This book has a mix of fiction and facts. It includes lots of colourful illustrations, codes to crack and information to read.
The book is less of a story than i thought it would be but I don't think this was necessarily a bad thing.

This book also comes with a cd-rom (not an audio cd) which allows you to create your own hieroglyphic messages which was a lot of fun and easy to use.

Overall this book was fun to use but it's not the kind of story you would re-read over and over, on the other hand the cd-rom is very definately re-usable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My whole family loved this, from adults to kids. It is glossy, interesting, fun and very well put together. I definitely learned about hieroglyphs along the way, although of course for an in depth knowledge this book is not what you're looking for. However, for some Egyptian fun and games, and learning along the way, this book is a winner. I loved the little facts which were included on the pages. Most kids have a fascination for the magic and mystery of Ancient Egypt, and I can wholeheartedly recommend this book for a few hours peace during the summer holidays :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I got this for my 6 year old daughter and she just can't put it down. Attractively and colourfully bound, the book also contains a CD which enables the user to construct their own hieroglyphic messages.
With a central mystery to solve, fold-out 'code breaker' panels inside, tonnes of information on Egyptian life, and plenty of superb illustrations, this will keep your child occupied for hours - would make a great gift too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This was a great book, not only for children, but us grown ups as well! The art-work is gorgeous and the overall presentation of the book is fantastic, in shiny a shiny hardback.

The book is fairly short, but can keep one entertained throughout. You embark on a journey of Egypt through the narrative of (fictitious, I believe!) a Dr. Cameron Stone. Along the way there are "codes" to break (puzzles) through translating hierographs.

There are some really interesting facts along the way. I particularly enjoyed the part about mummification!

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and can recommend it to anyone interested in ancient Egypt, as it presents the information in a fun, light-hearted and informative manner. 5/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What strikes you most about this book are the stunning illustrations - beautifully-coloured and with great attention to detail.

I think this will draw children to it and encourage them to read the text and try the puzzles - while the CD Rom gives an interactive element to the whole thing.

So for kids who say that books are boring, this has all sort of things to vary the journey through and to keep even the most jaded child interested. Little fold-out sections, photographs and a great visual style that includes a familiar "Indiana Jones"-style explorer.

As others have mentioned it is a little short - but I think it will encourage the relucant readers !
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