Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Last Treasure

The Last Treasure by Janet S. Anderson, 2003
This book is featured on the Texas Bluebonnet Reading list for 2005-2006. Like Chasing Vermeer, the book is about a puzzle that must be solved, in this case there is a treasure to be found.

Thirteen year old Ellsworth lives a nomad life with his father and his fish, Hugo. He receives a birthday card from "some kind of cousin" named Elizabeth who invites him to visit for the summer. All that he knows about his father's family is that his dad does not want anything to do with them. Never the less, he is intrigued by her reference to the puzzle of the "last" treasure and despite his father's misgivings leaves for the Square in Smith Mills, NY.

As Ellsworth gets to know more about his family he also learns more about his parents and especially his mother. With a distant girl cousin his age named Jess he tries to solve the puzzle of the last treasure house. My favorite part of the story is where Ellsworth and Jess read the journal of their great grand...something and get to know him by hearing his story in his own words.

I did enjoy the story but I was overwhelmed by the number of names and relationships. There is a family tree and a map of the Square in the front of the book; I should have referred to it.

An interesting read but I am not sure how many kids will embrace the story. It is interesting for kids to think about family histories, genealogy and even recording their own family stories.

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