Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

InTales Mummies Tell, Patricia Lauber presents the mystery of mummies in detail and with scientific exactness. She avoids the traditional discussion of mummification as seen in the Egyptian culture by approaching the subject universally to include frozen, mummified mammoths and peat bog graves containing alleged miscreants preserved since the Iron Age. Moving the reader from twelve thousand years ago, when woolly mammoths roamed the earth, to the early seventeenth century, the author documents several mummy excavations and accurately defines the scientific value of the findings at each site. The amassed information gained by scientists from mummified bodies verifies knowledge about ancient cultures that otherwise could be only surmised. Authorities on mummification thoroughly examine the bodies to discover diseases suffered by the populace, the tools of the culture, mummification techniques, sociological data, and causes of death.

The book categorizes well-documented mummy sites according to methods of burial and geography. Lauber also includes animal mummification, both accidental (as with mammoths) and intentional (as with Egyptian mummies). The book displays more than seventy black-and-white photographs and several artistic renderings in order to augment the well-drafted text; a credit page indicates the sources of the photographs. Younger readers may be alarmed by the realism of the photographs because many mummies, particularly the...

(The entire section is 526 words.)