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1968 Newbery Honor book by Zilpha Keatley Snyder about a group of children who play Ancient Egypt in the backyard of the local Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold, known only as "The Professor." The "Egypt gang" consists of:
- April Hall: A Defrosting Ice Queen with a Freudian Excuse. Like most of the Egyptians, she is eleven years old and in the sixth grade.
- Melanie Ross: Cheerful Child and Team Mom. Has an Odd Friendship with April.
- Marshall Ross: Melanie's preschool-aged brother. A Tagalong Kid and Innocent Prodigy who drags around a Companion Cube.
- Elizabeth Chung: A Naive Newcomer and Pollyanna two years younger than April and Melanie.
- Toby Alvillar: Initially a Jerk Jock in April and Melanie's class, he later joins the Egypt Game and turns out not to be so bad after all.
- Ken Kamata: Forms Those Two Guys with Toby. Ken seems to be a follower and is thus apparently content to go along with whatever Toby wants. His favorite word appears to be "sheesh!"
Followed by a Sequel, The Gypsy Game, some thirty years after the original.
Provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: The serial child killer. The kids (naturally) don't take the issue very seriously and are mostly just upset that their playtime has been ruined.
- Asian Airhead: Elizabeth might count, although her naïveté is attributed to her being two grades below April, Melanie, Toby, and Ken.
- Clueless Mystery
- Comic Book Time: The Egypt Game seems to take place in the '60s. The Gypsy Game begins the moment its predecessor left off, but seems to take place in the '90s.
- Convicted by Public Opinion: "The Professor" for the child murders.
- Curtain Clothing: At one point, Melanie makes Egyptian robes for everyone using old curtains.
- Dead Little Sister: The Professor's backstory involves the dead wife version.
- Death by Newbery Medal
- Defrosting Ice Queen: April. It's not too hard to defrost her, though. Just let her get bored with her Jerkass Facade.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": "The Professor". At the end, it's revealed that his real name is Dr. Julian Huddleston, although he still prefers to be called "The Professor".
- The Fashionista: April tries being one.
- Five-Token Band: April and Toby are white, Melanie and Marshall are black, and Elizabeth and Ken are Asian. But Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped. The novel was written back when Uhura was making waves by sitting on the bridge of the Enterprise and saying "Hailing frequencies open, sir."
- Free-Range Children: A Deconstructed Trope. The novel was written in 1967 and this trope is played straight until the murder of a child in the neighborhood causes the adults to temporarily be overprotective. In other words, exactly the way they are all the time nowadays. And at the end, April is almost killed by the murderer when she goes down to Egypt at night.
- Girls Have Cooties: April and Melanie are still holding onto the "boys are gross" mindset at eleven years old, which was considered normal at the time.
- Halloween Cosplay. Well, sort of anyway.
- Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: "The Professor".
- Narrative Profanity Filter
- No Communities Were Harmed: The setting is an unnamed "large university town in California", which is almost certainly Berkeley or a fictional version thereof. (Incidentally, Zilpha Keatley Snyder once taught at the University of California at Berkeley.)
- Parental Abandonment: Melanie, Marshall, and Ken are the only kids to have both parents and that's with Melanie and Marshall being siblings.
- Parents as People: April's self-absorbed mother Dorothea sends her to live with her grandmother Caroline, promising her this will be a very temporary arrangement. Months pass, Dorothea doesn't write much, doesn't send for April when she said she would, and finally sends a letter explaining how she freakin' got married without her daughter and is now living in an apartment with her new husband. All the while, April gets to come to the slow and painful realization that she has essentially been abandoned.
- The Power of Friendship
- Pretty in Mink: April
- Security Blanket: Marshall with a stuffed octopus actually named Security.
- Sequel Hook: "Melanie, what do you know about Gypsies?" It took thirty years in real time for Melanie to answer "Not very much, I guess. Why?"
- The Sixties
- Team Mom: Melanie
- True Companions: The Egypt gang.
- Those Two Guys: Ken and Toby