Saturday, December 21, 2019

Hard to Hold: Treasure by Mireille Messier and Irene Luxbacher

A boy follows his sister into the woods on a treasure hunt.

"How will we know when we've found a treasure?" he asks.

"A treasure is shiny and mysterious and precious.

And the best treasures are always hidden," she says.

They ramble along a little stream and the boy finds striped yellow leaf, but when he shows it to his sister, she says its not shiny enough. His acorn is not mysterious enough, and when he captures some floating thistle fluff in the meadow, it doesn't please her.
"It's not precious enough," she declares.

Holding on to his finds, her little brother wonders if he can ever find anything that pleases his sister. He offers his pockets to help carry the treasure home. She simply tells him to to follow her.

And at last she leads him along the stream and through birches and evergreens until they find--
the waterfall.
"That's our treasure."

In quiet happiness, brother and sister sit by the pool below the falls together, and they know that finding it together is the treasure, even if they can't take it home in their pockets, in Mereille Messier and Irene Luxbacher's Treasure (Orca Book Publishers, 2019).

The real treasure is, of course, not something that can be held in the hand, but the experience of beauty the two share. As the little brother sets his found leaf, acorn, and seed pod fluff adrift in the stream, this lovely and simple story reveals the truth that, more than objects, shared experiences can be the best treasures of all. Lovely muted colors and gauzy illustrations seamlessly add depth to this story. Says Kirkus in a starred review, "A gentle exploration, using a child's words and told at a child's pace, of a marvelous world."

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