Mantra have published a number of successful titles which aim to broaden the range of genres available in dual language format and this latest title relates to ancient Egyptian mythology. They’ve been successful in getting the typography issues right so that each language text is set well in relation to the other. In this Vietnamese/English version, for example, where both languages use roman orthography, the Vietnamese text is set in a larger type above the English with good spacing between them.
The myth tells how the first mummy came to be made and relates the story of deities Osiris and Isis, Pharaoh and Queen of Egypt. Osiris’s peaceful and popular rule is disrupted by his jealous and scheming brother Set (more widely written Seth – which I feel could easily have been mentioned in the introductory notes). I’ve had mixed reactions to both text and illustrations in this book each time I’ve picked it up. Visually, it’s very bold. The illustrations suggest a mix of Indian and Egyptian styles and colours. This may be intentional but though it works on some double page spreads, it doesn’t on all. For instance, the borders on some pages, each different in design and colours used, seem a little overdone at times; also some of the background colours used for pages/spreads, detract a little from the actual illustrations. Not as satisfactory a read as some of Mantra’s previous titles.