Author: David Macaulay
Major Themes: Architecture, Engineering, Pyramids, Ancient Times, Egypt
Synopsis: Very soon after the pharaoh began his reign, he also began his plans for the afterlife—read this book to see how his pyramid grew.
We have now read all of David Macaulay’s books that we have. These are very interesting stories, showing how various structures might have been built in the past. The one we just finished is Pyramid, about how an imaginary pyramid was built for a fictitious pharaoh.
Soon after he began his reign, the new pharaoh began making plans for his afterlife. He hired an architect and set events in motion to build a fabulous tomb. The site was selected—and we had to chuckle at how they set it up to “honor” Khufu! Plans were drawn up and work gangs put together, and then the site was cleared. We found it fascinating to see how the correct orientation was calculated, as well as how they got the rock leveled to build the pyramid on.
As the work progressed, the burial chamber had to be dug, lined, and roofed. That was also fascinating! A lot of shovel work was involved here. As the pyramid rose, a way had to be found to get the enormous limestone blocks up to where they were needed. Finally, the capstone could be set in place—and then we got to learn how the pyramid was finished. At the end of the book, the pharoah’s embalming and burial were described.
At the same time we read this book, we were reading the story of Joseph from the Bible for family worship. We referred to Pyramid as we read the story of how Jacob and Joseph were embalmed—it helped the children understand what we were reading.
As with all of David Macaulay’s books, this one is illustrated with extremely detailed line drawings. It is a great book to sit down with and just enjoy the artwork. If you look closely, there are humorous little details tucked into the pictures. I like to leave this type of book laying around for people to pick up and look at—a sneaky way to get some history into them!
WARNING: Page 12 has pictures of six men wearing only loincloths.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15