The Great Quarantine Read-Down continues! There are such middle grade books this year; I’m so glad our libraries are starting to open for grab and go service, so I can start encouraging my library kids to read these.
The Egyptian Mirror, by Michael Bedard, (May 2020, Pajama Press), $18.95, ISBN: 9781772781106
Simon and his family have moved into his grandfather’s old house after he passes away, leaving it to his mom. When Mr. Hawkins, a neighbor who grew up with Simon’s grandfather, has a bad fall, Simon delivers meals to him, cooked by his mother, and gradually becomes friendly with the former archaeologist, whose home is decorated with mirrors. After looking into an antique Egyptian mirror from Mr. Hawkins, Simon begins having strange dreams and swears a huge dog is following him. Shortly after a mysterious woman calling herself Mr. Hawkins’s niece moves into the Hawkins home, Simon falls ill, watching listlessly as the woman and her husband empty out boxes of family memories. No family member would discard boxes of photos! Enlisting the help of his friend, Abbey, Simon has to find out where Mr. Hawkins hid the antique Egyptian mirror and work with the archaeologist’s museum curator friend to figure out what the strange couple are really after.
The Egyptian Mirror is a good mystery with a touch of the fantastic. The friendship between Simon and Mr. Hawkins develops easily, and the curiosity about the mirror allows Simon to learn more about history, which helps him later on in the story. Simon and Abbey are likable, smart characters who take action while still being protective older siblings who pitch in to help out their families. The novel’s pacing is good; a little slow at points, but always building toward a strong conclusion. Give this to your burgeoning mystery readers.