Paperback edition, 1997.
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From the first time I saw a mummy movie on TV, I developed a lifelong interest in mummies: Egyptian and otherwise, factual and fictional. One of my favorite activities in childhood was watching old mummy movies on television--especially on Saturday afternoons.
These movies fascinated me--the idea that someone could come back to life (all wrapped up in tattered bandages) was very interesting to me. Although as a child I never had a chance to see a real mummy or learn about ancient Egypt (because it wasn't covered in my school's curriculum), I maintained this fascination to adulthood.
In 1990, when I was all grown up, I was inspired to write a book about mummies.
I was in the British Museum in London, climbing up the long staircase to the second floor when I came across a mummy that I couldn't ignore. It was Lindow Man, and he was in a display case in the middle of the second floor foyer. Lindow Man is a bog body, a kind of mummy I had never before encountered. One look at his preserved body, and I knew that I wanted to write a book about all the different types of mummies in the world.
That's what I accomplished in my book, How to Make a Mummy Talk. During my research, I read many books and articles about mummies. I spoke to a number of mummy experts. I also visited many museums that exhibit mummies.
I share what I learned in this fact-filled book. It takes the reader on a mummy-discovery tour that spans centuries and continents. You'll learn exactly what mummies are, how they are created, where they have been found, how scientists investigate them, and what they tell us about people who lived long ago.
Selected as an Honor Book in Science by the Society of School Librarians International, 1996
Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books: "With an enticing blend of detail, practicality, and humor, Deem unwraps the phenomenon of mummies.... Lively and illuminating pencil sketches, maps, diagrams, and boxed sidebars keep the pages accessible and appealing.... Fans of [Deem's] previous books...will be tickled by this trip to the tombs."
School Library Journal: Deem "provides plenty of intriguing anecdotes and tips off readers on where to track down museums that display mummies and where to read more about them."
Booklist: "Deem's aim is to transform mummies from being gross curiosities to being witnesses of past history.... An up-to-date bibliography and a general tone of excitement about what can be learned from mummies make the book of interest to budding Egyptologists and physical anthropologists."
The Horn Book: "Deem's logical, thorough exploration of a compelling topic is liberally sprinkled with fascinating anecdotes. Well-organized chapters delineate the historical and cultural aspects of mummies."