________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 19 . . . . May 16, 2008


Egyptian Slam Dunk. (Looney Bay All Stars; #6).

Helaine Becker. Illustrated by Sampar.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2008.
73 pp., pbk., $5.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-99733-1.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4


"Wooo-oooo…" Darren clamped his hand on Reese's shoulder and giggled, making him jump. "The mummy reaches from beyond the graaaave…!"

Reese had been putting the finishing touches on his social studies project- a model of an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus. It had a duct-tape hinge on one side so that Reese could put a tiny masking-tape mummy inside.

"Hey, is that a sar-cough-cough-cough-agus you're making?" Darren joked. "If so, that poor pharaoh must have died of a terrible cough-cough-cough?"

"Ha, ha," Reese replied. "What did you make, Darren?"


Reese McSkittles's would like to concentrate on his school project and his upcoming basketball tournament, but the magical coin he has hidden away is STILL on his mind. He knows it's best if he stays far away from the coin, but he needs to take a peek. If the coin has changed, someone or something from the past is sure to be nearby! The coin has been responsible for bringing time traveling pirates, Vikings and knights to Looney Bay, Newfoundland. Although he knows never to touch the coin, something does touch the coin- but with its feet. Does that count? Reese watches as an image of the Sphinx appears on the coin and a dusty mummy-wrapped visitor appears on his bed. Surprised as he is, Reese needs to get to basketball practice. And so does the mummy! Reese is playing to win, but the mummy, who turns out to be King Tootandhonkin, is playing for "eternal bliss." When they are finally on the court to practice, everything comes to a halt. Seamus has walked in with Queen Cleopatra at his side! Basketball is about to be played like never before when these two ancient Egyptians (and their teams) compete for something more than a trophy. This game will settle some ancient differences, but it will also help a group of friends understand how to have fun and play fair together.

     Near the end of the book, the merging of coins brings King Tootandhonkin and Queen Cleopatra's time in Looney Bay to an end; but it looks as if the next basketball game will be a lot more fun for everyone, especially for those few ancients left behind.

     Egyptian Slam Dunk is the sixth book in the "Looney Bay All-Stars" series. The books incorporate history and sports into a storyline that children will find easy and enjoyable to read. Black and white illustrations appear on approximately every second page. Several illustrations are humorous, especially those showing the mummies playing basketball. However, a close-up or a full page illustration of Darren's homemade model of the dog-headed god Anubis, the one said to resemble "a cross between a poodle and a claw-footed bathtub," would have been an amusing addition to this book!

     Award-winning author Helaine Becker is the author of the "Looney Bay All-Stars" series and several other books for children including Secret Agent Y.O.U. and Mother Goose Unplucked. She has written over 100 publications for teachers on such topics as science, math, spelling and phonics, and her articles have appeared in magazines such as Today's Parent and Canadian Living.

     Through his illustrations, Sampar, also known as Samuel Parent, adds appeal and animation to Egyptian Slam Dunk. His illustrations vary in size and location on the page, and the personality of each of his characters is clearly expressed in facial expressions, body language and clothing styles. A finalist for the 2004 Governor General's Literacy Award, Sampar has illustrated all the books in the "Looney Bay All-Stars" series. His work can also be found in the French magazine Safarir.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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