Tell students that they will be reading a book about mummies and ask for volunteers to describe what a mummy is. Do not be surprised if some or all answers reflect an idea of mummies as an element of a horror movie. If you do get such a response, acknowledge that the title of the book, Tales Mummies Tell, does sound like the title of a horror film. Then explain that real mummies are simply the remains of living beings that have been preserved over time by a natural or human-made process.
Ask for volunteers to describe a real mummy they may have seen either in a museum or in a book on the subject. Then ask the class to conjecture why a museum would want to display such an object. What could be learned from the study of it? Then explain to the students that the study of mummies is an important aspect of archeology, which is the scientific study of the cultures of people who lived in the past.
Explain that Tales Mummies Tell is a serious book about mummies, how they are studied, and what can be learned from them. Then ask the class to suggest how reading such a book might make them feel. Will it be funny, will it be full of chills and thrills, perhaps like a detective story, or will it be filled with dry facts that don't interest them? As you discuss these possibilities, introduce the idea of the tone or mood of writing and how it can affect reader response.