by Alex Miles
illustrated by Maude Guesne
reviewed by Tyrion Perkins
When I first picked up this book with its yellow picture of camels, pyramids and, girl in Cleopatra style costume, I thought it was going to be a mystery set in ancient Egypt. However, the lights around the tile and “starring Olive Black,” should have been a clue that it is in fact a modern tale about a ten year old film star and her friends at school.
The year five class have to choose what to do for their history assignment, and lead by Olive who is starring in a film about an archaeological dig, they decide to prepare an extravagant day on Ancient Egypt. The mystery revolves around a new teacher who is hated by their own teacher, plus a boy who usually causes trouble. They all have surprising things in their past, but Olive and her friends discover, “when you dig up the past, things aren’t always as they seem.”
The book is fun with lots going on. The drawings by Maude Guesne perfectly complement the tone. Some wording had me confused, (what is “shared a greasy”?) but it turned out Olive and her friends like to make up new words, and word-play is perfect for the target audience of 8-9.
If I was that age, I would be seeking out the rest of the series, and as an adult, I would recommend it as a fun series that bridges the gap between chapter books and more weighty novels.
Affirm Press 2018 Paperback $14.99 ISBN 9781925584790