Mummies, to my way of thinking, are inherently fascinating. You can love them for their historical insight into culture, for their advanced age, or for the “eww, weird” factor, but regardless of what initially catches one’s interest, it’s hard to deny that mummies in all of their forms are intriguing.
Mysteries of the Mummy Kids by Kelly Milner Halls reviews the stories not just of mummies, but, even more appealingly, of mummified children. Her book brings us around the world to explore mummies from every inhabited continent. Some of the mummies, like those found in Peru, Chile, and, of course, Egypt were mummified intentionally as part of an elaborate funeral ritual. Others were preserved not through human intervention but by chance intervention of climate and weather, surviving in extremely dry, very hot or cold conditions. The children range in age from infants to teenagers.
The “mysteries” from the title are plentiful. Often we know little about how the mummified children died or what the culture was like. The author explains the archaeological process, and the ways in which mummified remains can give clues about an ancient culture. Interviews with an archaeologist and a paleopathologist provide the reader with a peek into the world of a professional. As we would expect from a modern nonfiction book, the work is filled with excellent pictures and illustrations. A bibliograpy and index are included.