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A Review of

Barbie: The Pyramid Adventure

by Rita Balducci

 

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Summary

While visiting her friend Christie in Egypt, Barbie visits an archeological dig, falls asleep, and dreams of being a princess back in Pharaonic times. Cover

 

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Fact Sheet

Title

Barbie: The Pyramid Adventure

Author

Rita Balducci

ISBN

0-7172-8797-1

Publisher

Grolier Books

Category

Children

Rating

StarStar

Number of Pages

55

Published In

1998

Reading Level

Ages 5-8

 

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Description

The main character in this story is based on the Barbie doll.

Barbie goes to Egypt to visit her friend Christie, an archeology student working at a dig. Christie takes Barbie to enjoy some of Egypt's popular tourist attractions, including a felucca (sailboat) ride, the pyramids, the Sphinx, and Valley of the Kings.

The visit culminates with a trip to the tomb Christie has been helping excavate. Inside this tomb, Barbie gets separated from the others, falls asleep, and dreams of being a princess in Pharaonic times, along with her friend Christie. Princesses Barbie and Christie sneak away from the palace and visit the construction site of the Sphinx, then return to the palace. At this point, modern-day Barbie wakes from her dream, and has a happy surprise to offer the archeologists.

So far as plots go, it's not high literature, but it could provide some entertainment for girls who like stories about exotic places and princesses.

The story is illustrated with photographs of Barbie and Christie dolls clad in attire that suits the story line. For example, when Barbie arrives she's wearing tourist garb, and later, during the dream sequence, the photo shows Barbie and Christie in princessly dresses similar to those depicted in ancient Egyptian artwork.

 

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Is It Right for You?

 

You Will Probably Enjoy This Book If...

  • A child in your life enjoys Barbie dolls and items related to them.
  • You collect Barbie dolls and related items.
  • You have been to Egypt and would enjoy a children's story about it.
  • You would enjoy fiction about an archeological dig.

 

This Book Probably Isn't Right for You If...

  • You have a strong negative attitude toward Barbie dolls.
  • You're not particularly interested in children's books.

 

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

 

What I Liked:

  • The book introduces vocabulary in a non-threatening way. It opens with a pronunciation guide for words that a child in the target age group wouldn't be likely to know, such as Egypt, archeology, ancient, etc. As these words are introduced in the story, they appear in bold letters, which can be used as a signal to refer back to the pronunciation guide. They are also defined when introduced.
  • The story is full of elements a little girl would probably enjoy - bonding with a friend, meeting a cute kitty cat, being a princess, being the one who found something everyone else was looking for.
  • The story makes both modern-day Egypt and ancient Egypt sound interesting. For modern-day Egypt, it refers to the shopping, the spectacle of seeing animals and cars side-by-side in traffic, and interesting tourist sites to visit. For ancient Egypt, it speaks of pyramids, tombs, and royalty.

 

What I Didn't Like:

  • I'm annoyed at how this book plays fast and loose with the facts. It suggests that the Valley of the Kings is a short camel ride from the pyramids and Sphinx, when in fact the Valley of the Kings is about 200 miles south as the ibis flies, probably longer on camel back. It claims that hieroglyphs identify who was buried inside the three great pyramids of Giza, even though in fact these pyramids do not contain any hieroglyphics. I realize it's fiction, but when fiction is set in real-life places that readers might visit, it should still try to stay true to known, easily-proven facts such as these.
  • After seeing the photos of Barbie and Christie dolls clad in ancient Egyptian attire, I naturally wanted one of those outfits for my Barbie doll! Alas, I was unable to find anything of the sort in my online shopping attempts. How dare they show photos of such Barbie clothes if they don't sell them? Harumph.

 

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Conclusion

The marketing propaganda for this book sets it up for failure. I've seen ads for it claiming it's a "mystery" story or a "time travel" tale. Both claims are rather exaggerated, to say the least.

It's not bad for what it is - a fictitious travelogue about a tourist visiting an exotic place that has a strong historic allure. The dream about being a princess enhances the appeal for the target audience of young girls. This book isn't a bad one for a little girl, especially one who likes Barbie dolls, but it probably wouldn't be my first choice.

 

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Disclosures

There is nothing to disclose. I have never had any contact with anyone associated with this book.

I used to enjoy Barbie dolls as a child, and still like some of the theme Barbies.

 

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