The Egypt Game
Book egy 1967
First Edition Cover
First Published: 1967
Identifier: ISBN 0689702973
Pages: 214
More Details
Chapter Summaries
List of Characters
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The Egypt Game is a book by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, first published in 1967. The story follows the creation of a secret game. The people who cretedd it shared an interest in Ancient Egypt. The book was illustrated by the mmmn lil men


Snyder uses memories and references from her own life as building blocks for the story. The longest roots go back to her childhood, when she was a fifth-grader and was fascinated by ancient Egyptian culture, reading every book on the subject, imagining herself an Egyptian and even making up her own hieroglyphic alphabet. Her daughter also had her own version of the "Egypt Game" when she was a preteen, including doing most activities described in the novel. The six "Egyptians" are based loosely on children Snyder used to teach in Washington Elementary School in Berkeley.


The Egypt Game received generally favorable reviews, and won several awards.


  • First Prize at the Spring Book Festival, New York (1967)
  • Newbery Honor Book (1968)[1]
  • Lewis Carroll Shelf Award (1970)[2]
  • George G. Stone Recognition of Merit (1973)[2]
  • ALA Notable Book


"[The Egypt Game] may prove to be one of the controversial books of the decade: it is strong in characterization, the dialogue is superb, the plot is original, and the sequences in which the children are engaged in sustained imaginative play are fascinating, and often very funny. On the other hand, the murder scare and the taciturn, gloomy Professor seem grim notes. In this story the fact that the children are white, Negro, and Oriental seems not a device but a natural consequence of grouping in a heterogeneous community. The Egypt Game is a distinguished book."[3]

- Saturday Review, 1967

"[The Egypt Game] moves with suspense and humor, despite evidence that the ingredients were deliberately assembled. The characters, though delightfully real, appear to have been carefully selected to represent a cross section of middle-class Americans. (...) There is little doubt about the appeal of this lively book with its up-to-the-minute speech and situations, even though it was obviously written to fill current "needs" and will soon be dated."[4]

- The Horn Book Magazine, 1967

"Mrs. Snyder (...) has succeeded in presenting contemporary children as they talk and act on they own."

- The New York Times Book Review

"Only in the hands of a skillful writer would the characters emerge so lifelike that the reader feels that he knows each one. A brief review cannot do justice to the book, which has originality and verve in plot, style, and characterization."[5]

- School Library Journal

"A classic from the 1960's that stands up today (...) Some of the good stuff in this book: learning about responsibility and safety, acceptance, and finding out that things are not always what they seem. It also has all the elements that make up a good story: action, intrigue, mystery... I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages."[6]

- Young Adult Books Central

"Tailor-made for children who love the thought of rambling mansions, garden mazes, and hidden treasure."

- Booklist

"An increasingly captivating story, which builds to a risky and daring climax."

- Kirkus


The Egypt Game was first published in 1967 by Atheneum. Since then, it was republished more than 20 times and translated in 5 foreign languages.

Publication HistoryEdit

The following English language editions are known[7]:

Foreign EditionsEdit

Known foreign editions are in German, Czech, Chinese, Korean and Thai[8].

Related PublicationsEdit

  • A Guide for Using The Egypt Game in the Classroom (Kelli Plaxco), Teacher Created Resources, 2004, ISBN 0743930061
  • LitPlans on CD: The Egypt Game (Catherine Caldwell), Teacher's Pet Publications, 2006, ISBN 1583372776
  • The Egypt Game Literature Kit (Nat Reed), Classroom Complete Press, 2006, ISBN 1553193350


  1. Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922-Present, American Library Association
  2. 2.0 2.1 Literature Place list of The Egypt Game awards
  3. Zena Sutherland, "For Younger Children: The Egypt Game", Saturday Review, Vol. L, No. 19, May 13, 1967, pp. 55-6
  4. Ruth Hill Viguers, "Early Spring Booklist: The Egypt Game", The Horn Book Magazine, Vol. XLIII, No. 2, April, 1967, pp. 209-10
  5. Top 100 Children's Novels, School Library Journal
  6. Kimberly Pauley, "The Egypt Game review", Young Adult Books Central
  7. Fantastic Fiction list
  8. The Egypt Game on Snyder's homepage

See AlsoEdit

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