Title: Golden Goblet
Author: Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Synopsis: In ancient Egyptian times, young Ranofer—half brother of the villainous Gebu and slave in the goldsmith’s workshop—finds out his older half brother’s dirty secret. He is stealing gold from the goldsmith workshop, with the help of a Babylonian named Ibiny! But when Ibiny is no longer of any use to Gebu, he takes Ranofer out of the only place he loves, the goldsmith’s workshop, and makes him a stonecutter’s apprentice. Meanwhile, while Gebu is stealing gold from tombs, Ranofer and his friends, an “older” man named Ancient and an energetic goldsmith’s apprentice named Heqet try to come up with a plan to stop Gebu. Can he and his friends succeed in this edge-of-your-seat book?!
Why kids would like this book: I think that kids would like this book because it is exciting and you just fall in love with the characters and when makes you flustrated for them when things don’t work out.
Why adults would like this book: According to Wikipedia, this book was previously on the CA state curriculum for 6th graders, but was unpopular due to the vocabulary level, and the maturity of the plot involving Ranofer’s enslavement to his half-brother. I agree that that this book was a good vocabulary stretcher for both Miranda and I, and some themes would be too heavy for young children, but we were totally pulled into this book. I honestly read the final three chapters a second time because the resolution is so exciting! I also feel like I now know a lot more about Egyptian culture and the trades of goldsmithing and stonecutting after reading this, so I’d feel totally comfortable forcing a middle schooler to read this book, whether or not they like it as much as I did!
Miranda’s rating: 7 of 10. It has some scary parts, along with some sad ones. It also has a LOT of big words, ones that even grown-ups wouldn’t know!
Todd’s rating: 8 of 10. The development does drag a little for the second quarter of the book, but that does help reinforce the lack of hope in a positive resolution felt by Ranofer.
Miranda’s favorite character: My favorite character is definitely Heqet! He always comes up with the silliest jokes, and he always finds a way to make you smile.
Todd’s favorite character: Ranofer, for his strength in enduring what must be endured while working towards changing what seems impossible.
Miranda’s favorite part of book: Oh my StarClan! Too hard to decide… I’ll narrow it down to this one. When Queen Tiye asks Ranofer about what he wants, anything at all, he asks for …….. I can’t tell you—read the book to find out!
Todd’s favorite part of book: The final three chapters—you may predict how it all will end, but it still exciting to see it all come together.
Miranda’s recommended age groups: 12+