Andy Shane and the Queen of Egypt
by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
illustrated by Abby Carter
Quiet but fiercely independent Andy and bossy show-off Dolores both want to do their Cultural Fair report on Egypt. She suggests that they work together but Andy likes to go at his own pace so he resists. Dolores then goes all out to convince him. After her actions cause him to make a huge mistake in the T-ball game, she tries to make it up to him by choosing another country. When he freezes up during his oral presentation, Dolores pantomimes help that gets him through. He finally sees that cooperation will be better for both of them.
These strong characters arriving at their own answers will ring true for beginning readers. The dilemma and circumstances are sure to resonate with second graders as they find themselves being asked to work in small groups more than they did in first grade.
The opening chapter shows Andy and his grandmother playing a rhyming game that could easily be used as a reading game or a reading worksheet. Facts about ancient Egypt are cleverly woven into the story and in such a way to reinforce interest in an already fascinating topic for this age group. Andy and Dolores love to share what they’ve learned from their reading which provides a good model for how to do research even for fun. Andy has a scarab beetle and tells a bit about Egyptian mythology. He draws a picture of a sphinx which allows him to describe their sculpture. Dolores creates an Egyptian outfit from white clothes and a fancy decorated cardboard collar. When she wraps Andy’s action figure in toilet paper to look like a mummy, he has the perfect visual for his presentation. All of these would be easy reading activities to catapult a second grader into his or her own Egyptian study.
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