Cleopatra Tells All!

Thames & Hudson. Aug. 2022. 48p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780500652565.
Gr 2-6–Our story opens at a museum, where a chipper teacher with brown skin, natural black curls, and white glass frames reels off the news that the statue labeled “Unknown Ptolemaic Queen” may be Cleopatra. Cleo steps in then to explain how she became a pharaoh and to explain her infamy as well as her achievements. Speech bubbles, side bars, cartoon panels, bright colors, and page after page of historical facts back up this queen’s prattle and she’s very convincing. It’s a wonderful gallop through Greeks bearing gifts; Egyptian geography, fashion, food, and history; Roman misdoings; the very nature of the spoils of war; who owns the story; and how everyone benefits from the use of humor when stating their case. The chapter titles could have been written by a Kardashian: “How I get booted off the throne,” “My first boyfriend, Julius Caesar,” “Ancient power couple,” “My total rebrand,” and way more. Back matter includes a map of Alexandria, glossary, a guide to Roman numerals, and an index.
VERDICT How sassy, and suitable to the subject, how divine. Cleopatra gets her due, and collections that own this volume are in for some wide circulation and legions of new fans.

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