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The Treasure Box by Margaret Wild
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The Treasure Box

by Margaret Wild

Other authors: Freya Blackwood (Illustrator)

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When the enemy bombs the library, all of the books are destroyed except for the one Peter's father has checked out. A true treasure, the book tells the story of their people, and when the father and son must flee, they take it with them. The travails of the road prove too much for Peter's father, and the young boy must bury him by the wayside, and carry on alone. Eventually the box with the book in it grows too heavy for him, and he buries it underneath a linden tree, intending to return for it one day...

A moving exploration of the hardships of war, and the importance of keeping one's traditions and culture alive, even in the most difficult times, The Treasure Box is just the latest thought-provoking book I have read from Australian author Margaret Wild, who seems to specialize in children's stories that explore difficult concepts, from the necessity of both joy and sorrow for a true sense of being alive (The Stone Lion) to the intersection of mental illness and dystopian futures (Woolvs In the Sitee). The illustrations by Freya Blackwood, an artist whose work I absolutely love - The Selkie and the Fisherman is possibly my favorite, although all of her books are lovely - are simply beautiful, and something a little bit different from many of her earlier titles. I seem to recall that her artwork in earlier works is painted (watercolor, I think?), whereas here there are both painted and collage elements, with bits of text worked in to each scene. Some of this text, according to information on the colophon, is taken from foreign-language editions of Australian author Morris Gleitzman's books, but some is in English, and is apropos to the scene in question. When bits of paper rain down, after the library has been bombed, they contain words like "ever forget," "hope," "sang," and "great empty."

A powerful and poignant book, with a moving story and gorgeous artwork, The Treasure Box is one I would highly recommend to anyone searching for children's tales addressing themes of war, loss, survival, and keeping hope and tradition alive. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 28, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Wildprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blackwood, FreyaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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As the library burns, Peter and his father flee their home, taking with them a book more precious than jewels - a book that tells the story of their people. When Peter loses his father and has to walk over the mountains, he must bury their treasure in an iron box to protect it, leaving it behind.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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