Diary of Dorkius Maximus in Egypt by Tim Collins is the follow up volume to Diary of Dorkius Maximus, although you do not have to have read the first book to make any sense of the second.
The book does exactly what it says in the title, following the fortunes and misfortunes of Dorkius Maximus, a twelve year old Roman boy on his quest to be a true Roman Hero.
The book, in style and layout is very similar to the perennially popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
There is minimal text, in a kind of basic, hand writing style font, spread out on pages that look as if they’ve been ripped from a diary, or in this case, a distressed scroll, where illustrations and visual jokes feature heavily.
Dorkius Maximus has the same, self obsessed, blindness to his own faults that dogs Greg in Wimpy Kid – although I found Dorkius much more preferable to Greg, perhaps because there at least seems a point to this book.
The point is, that along with all the fart and puke jokes, and the joy children will get from reading about the ritual humiliation of small boys everywhere, the author actually seems to be teaching the reader something about ancient history. In this book, the clash between the Roman empire and the Egyptians, and particularly what happened when Caesar met Cleopatra.
Obviously, there is a great deal of poetic licence taken here, with a few facts sprinkled in amongst a great deal of make believe, but at least there are facts, and those facts are introduced in a way that make them interesting, and noteworthy.
I quite enjoyed this book, which is more than I can say for the Wimpy Kid books.
It would be great to use as extra reading if you’re doing topic work on the Romans, or indeed the Egyptians. It is fun to read, and quick to get through. It’s better read by a sole reader than out loud to a group, as it relies so much on the illustrations to make the book work, and they’re too small to share with a group.
Recommended for boys and girls aged from about seven to eleven.