The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley

TheEgypt Game by Zilpha Keatley

The“The Egypt Game” is a book that has been written by ZilphaKeatley. The book covers a story of a group of different, creativechildren that play a game about Egypt. The game focuses on differentexperiences that April come across. In the book, April is shown topass through different encounters such as friendship, loneliness,discrimination and murder. April, who is sent to live with hergrandmother in California, masters how to live in her newenvironment, makes friends, and cares for the grandmother. April,together with her friends that play the Egypt game, share friendshipthat ignores their difference in culture, age and skin color.Although April and her friend playing the Egypt game include blacks,whites and Asians of ages four to eleven, all of them are joinedtogether by Egypt and their creativity. From the book, when there isdanger, adult characters come in and show their discriminating views,but they finally learn from the children that they should notdiscriminate because someone looks different. The book generallygives an encouragement to children to grow in love and accept oneanother without looking at them differently.


Thesetting of the book is in California in the mid 60s in a biguniversity town. The area where the book was set is an inhabited areacomprising of modest homes, apartment houses as well as small shops.The people in the area also comprise of different ethnic groups andmost of these people work or study in the university. April, one ofthe chief characters in the book, has come to live with her father’smother named Caroline. April’s father met his death in the KoreanWar when April was still very young while her mother is currently ontour. April’s grandmother dwells in the Casa Rosada, which is aSpanish-style apartment house that was built in 1920s. In this area,the apartments are usually big and slightly expensive. Caroline worksat the University in the library section and has moved to Casa Rosadain order to ensure that she will have a room for April.

Aprilmeets Melanie and her brother Marshall and begins to play in the A-ZAntiques’ storage yard. The three friends do a study of actualEgyptian belief systems as well as practices and develop their ownrituals that are intended in reproducing them less or moreauthentically. Later, the three are joined by a nine-year oldChinese-American girl named Elizabeth Chung. A little girl in theneighborhood is murdered and this makes all the children in the areato be kept indoors, but this is just for several weeks. April goes tothe temple in order to retrieve a lost schoolbook and since it is atnight, she is attacked by the murderer. Professor shouts for helpbecause he witnessed the attack. The murderer became identified andthe professor says that he had been watching the game as the childrenplayed. Eventually, the professor gives keys to each of the sixchildren so as to have an access to the locked storage yard as aChristmas gift. However, the kids feel that the game cannot go onsince its secrecy had been destroyed. The book concludes with Aprilsuggesting the likelihood of another new game that would involveGypsies.

Mainand Supporting Characters

Inthe book, there are different main as well as supporting characters.Some of the main characters in the book include April Hall, MelanieRoss, Marshall Ross, and the Professor. Other supporting charactersinclude Caroline Hall, Elizabeth Chung, and Security.


Thischaracter is an eleven year old girl that has been moved toCalifornia to stay with her grandmother. The book shows the girl asbeing smart, but she can sometime cover her intelligence with shallowworries. For example, she wears fake eyelashes and maintains onwearing her blond hair. This behavior of April changes when she metMelanie, her neighbor.


Fromthe book, this character is shown as a warm as well as compassionateyoung girl. This is because of the joy she expresses in creatingpaper cut figures in creating imagined families. Also, she takes careof her young brother, Marshall. She loves reading and making friends.For example, she is seen to make friendship with April once shenotices she also loves reading.


Thisis a four-year old boy and brother to Melanie. He depends on animportant support in the story, Security, who is his pet. He has aneasy going attitude, which made him an active participant during theearly stages of the creation of the Egypt Game. Also, Marshall isobservant because he was the first one to notice that the professorwas watching them from the window of his shop.


Inthe book, this character is described as the owner of the A-Z Antiqueand Curio Shop. It is in his storage yard that the children play theEgypt Game. He is seen as a good hearted man because he helped toraise an alarm, when April was attacked by the murderer. He also gavethe children keys to access the storage yard when playing the game.


Thisis an octopus that Marshall carries when moving around. He obtainedthe name security because Marshall loved to carry him wherever hewent.


Thisis a grandmother to April and mother to April’s father. She isportrayed in the book as being kind because she did not refuse toaccommodate her granddaughter.


Thisis a daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Chung. In the book, she becomes friendswith April and her friends after her parents move to the Casa Rosadaneighborhood.


Inthe book, different themes can be seen to develop. One of the themesin the book is friendship. From the start of the book to the end ofit, the theme of unconditional friendship can be seen to develop.Friendship is seen amongst the children that play the game thechildren accept the friendship of the others unconditionally. OnceApril went to her grandmother, she became friends with Melanie Rossand later made other friends. Also, Marshall and the octopus arefriends and Marshall carries the octopus wherever he goes. WhenElizabeth Chung joins the neighborhood, the children accept her astheir friend. Another theme that is created in the book is that ofdeath. In the book, April’s father is indicated to have died in awar. Also, the murderer confesses to have killed to missing children.The theme of fear has also been created in the book. When there was amissing child, the children as well as their parents were in fear andthis made the children to remain indoors for several weeks.

Abandonmententails another theme that develops in the book. The theme ofabandonment can be seen through different characters in the book. Inthe book, April Hall is seen as one of the characters that help indeveloping the theme of abandonment. The book provides that April wassent by her mother in order to go and live with her grandmother. Thebook does not indicate the reason behind April’s mother not wantingto live with her daughter, other than inconvenience. Although Aprilis abandoned by her own mother at the age of eleven, she acts as ifshe is older than that because she finds a family in her grandmotherand the neighbors that she meets while living with her grandmother.Apart from April Hall, Caroline Hall is another character that can beseen to develop the theme of abandonment. Caroline suffersabandonment because it has been long since she met her daughterin-law. Besides, through death, Caroline has been left by her son. Furthermore, another theme that develops in the books is that ofteamwork. The children seem to form a team, when playing the Egyptgame. They seem to have some rules that belong to the team in orderfor one to be accepted as a member in playing the game. In addition,the theme of a sense of community has also been developed in thebook. The families discussed in the book have a sense of community.This can be supported by the families letting the children in theneighborhood to play together.