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The Last Treasure

The Last Treasure

4.0 11
by Janet Anderson

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For thirteen-year-old Ellsworth, family has always been just him and his dad. That’s all Ellsworth thought he wanted. But then the dreams start. Dreams of houses surrounding a beautiful green square. Suddenly a letter arrives, inviting Ellsworth to a home he doesn’t remember: the Square in Smith Mills, New York. A home with a hidden treasure only a


For thirteen-year-old Ellsworth, family has always been just him and his dad. That’s all Ellsworth thought he wanted. But then the dreams start. Dreams of houses surrounding a beautiful green square. Suddenly a letter arrives, inviting Ellsworth to a home he doesn’t remember: the Square in Smith Mills, New York. A home with a hidden treasure only a child can uncover—the last treasure of John Matthew Smith, the family’s eccentric patriarch. But there are other things hidden in the Square. Can Ellsworth set these ghosts to rest and uncover the family’s last treasure—or will the secrets of the past haunt him forever?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Anderson offers a beautyùrich, multilayered, full of stories within stories, with an ethereal touch. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
Publishers Weekly
This supernatural mystery takes off at a clip, then holds readers' interest right up to the end. With the exception of a few of his widower father's tantalizing stories, about the 10 houses built on "the Square around the Sward" in the late 1800s by patriarch John Matthew Smith and the treasures hidden in three of them, Ellsworth Smith knows almost nothing about his extended family. But on his 13th birthday, Ellsworth receives a letter from his great-aunt, whom he's never met, summoning him to the Smiths' ancestral home to "claim his birthright [and] solve the puzzle of the last treasure"; apparently, only a child can locate the treasure, meant to be used in time of great need. Against his father's wishes, Ellsworth travels to the Square, to which a distant cousin, 13-year-old Jess, has also come. The two engage in a compelling hunt and an equally absorbing exploration of family history. Anderson (Going Through the Gate) builds clues effectively, deftly involving the restless ghost of John Matthew and other highly charged elements, including messages sent in dreams and cats that carry out John Matthew's wishes. Flashbacks chronicle the critical junctures when past generations of Smith children searched for treasure, enriching the story without slackening the pace. A densely woven novel with a thoughtfully delivered message about the riches of family. Ages 10-14. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
This emotional book grabs your attention right from the beginning. There are a lot of things happening throughout, but it doesn't seem confusing or crowded. The characters are realistic; they are not perfect and often argue with each other over little things. Anderson strongly conveys the importance of good family relationships. This book is a good mix of mystery and historical fiction and will be enjoyed by most teens. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, Dutton, 256p,
— Kristen Moreland, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature
This is a lengthy but engrossing novel for middle grade readers, although its 257 pages are broken into forty-two short chapters. Because of estrangement from the family, his father has told Ellsworth Smith, called Zee, little about the Square, an enclave of ten houses that John Matthew Smith built in the mid-nineteenth century in Smith Mills, NY, or about the Smith descendants who still live there. In memory of two older sons who perished in a fire, John Matthew hid three treasures that can be found only by detective work with the help of a keen-eyed child. Flashbacks describing 1910 and 1932 discoveries of the first of the two treasures are printed in a different font to minimize reader confusion. On Zee's 13th birthday, Aunt Elizabeth pleads for him to visit, with the hope that Zee and cousin Jess can help the family regain solvency by solving the third puzzle. In an exciting climax, the last treasure is found and, although Zee and Jess are crucial to locating it, Zee realizes the family is successful in claiming it only because they lay aside grievances, reconcile with each other, and cooperate. More a story about psychological ghosts than a ghost story, the book nevertheless provides a haunting tale of a family reunited after almost two centuries, as its ghostly patriarch wants. 2003, Dutton, Ages 9 to 13.
— Mary Bowman-Kruhm
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Since his death in 1881, the spirit of John Matthew Smith, once a wealthy patriarch, has been taking an annual walk around the Square of homes he built for his large family. He has whipped up whirlwinds, even downing an oak, in an effort to get his many descendants to patch up quarrels, reunite, and introduce the youngest branches of the family tree to one another. He had hidden three treasures, two of which were found by the family when desperately needed. Now it is time for the youngest relatives to find the third. Sending dreams to two Smith teens who have never met, he ensures their return to Smiths Mills. Facing a counterpane of mystery, mechanically minded Ellsworth and angry Jess must join forces to figure out the family dynamics and the meaning of the treasure clues. Anderson excels in her realization of the detailed setting, which is absolutely necessary for the success of the plot. In Ellsworth, she has created a fully rounded and appealing character who has never been told why his father cut off all ties with his relatives years earlier. With a touch of the family eccentricity of The Monkey Tree (Dutton, 1998) and a bit of the fantasy of Going through the Gate (Puffin, 2000), Anderson has conjured up a fascinating read for puzzle lovers while sandwiching in an important message about intergenerational relationships.-Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Anderson offers a beauty--rich, multilayered, full of stories within stories, with the ethereal touch she showed so deftly in Going Through the Gate (1997) and The Monkey Tree (1998). On his 13th birthday, Ellsworth Smith--his father calls him Zee--finds, as usual, a card from his distant cousin Elizabeth. This time, though, she asks him to come to Smiths Mills in upstate New York, to the family’s place, and sends him the money to do so. Zee’s dad, Ben Robert, cannot even talk about his family, so Zee makes the journey alone. It’s a wonderful place, where, in the 19th century, John Matthew Smith built ten houses around the Sward for his children and left treasures for them. As the tale unfolds, Zee, along with his vibrant, jittery girl cousin, Jess, learns in complicated ways how the first two treasures were found in houses now abandoned. Zee learns which cousins no longer speak, which can do nothing but fight, and sees how traits of artistic talent, mechanical puzzles, and love of animals run through the family. The Civil War, Quaker belief, and the joys of cats all play a role here, but none so strong as the fierce bonds between parent and child, brother and cousin, and soon, between Jess and Zee, who look alike enough to be twins. They discover that treasure comes in many forms. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.05(w) x 7.68(h) x 0.73(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Anderson offers a beautyùrich, multilayered, full of stories within stories, with an ethereal touch. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

Meet the Author

Born and raised in western New York where she attended a two-room schoolhouse, Janet S.Anderson later attended Cornell University and went on to teach high school English. She hasalso worked in libraries and for the New York State Department of Education.

Havinglived in Canada, Germany, and Sweden, she has settled in Latham, New York with her husband. She has two grown daughters, Kate and Alix. Janet S. Anderson is also the author of two picturebooks, The Key Into Winter and Sunflower Sal.copyright ?2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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Last Treasure 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"The Last Treasure" By: Janet S. Anderson was very fun and engaging. This book allows the reader to experiance all the joys of treasure hunting while in the safety of their own home. The main charoctor's name is Ellsworth. He and his dad have always had trouble comunicating when it came to his relitives and his family tree, But one day when he recives a letter from his cousin telling him that he is there only hope. He jumps on the bus to go. His father could not bear to go back to "the square" where all his family and past complications lie. Ellsworth meets Jess when he gets to the square. She is his age and his cousin. When they hear the story of the last treasure left by his great,great, great, great, grandfather in one of the houses on the square, They start looking for it and for a way to bring the family back together. -Caroline McDonald
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ryan Martinez More than 1 year ago
Love it!! I red this book 3 times and it still is amazing!! Nver gets old. This is a really good book!!:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Author Janet S. Anderson wrote the Last Treasure. She is a member of ¿ Smith¿ for years. She wrote this book based on what she knows about ¿Smith¿ as one of them. This story is about the adventure by Ellsworth to find the last treasure hidden by John Matthew Smith at the Square, built by Jon Matthew and has ten houses. This book is also about family, and cooperation. The book starts as Ellsworth and his father, Ben Robert, were living in a motel where Ben Robert works. On Ellsworth¿s eleventh birthday, he gets a letter from Elizabeth who lives in the Square, where Ben Robert used to live when he was young saying she wants Ellsworth to come to the Square because they need him. Thus, Ellsworth decides to visit the Square where people need him even though Ben Robert thought going there is not a great idea. After he got at the Square, he meets a bunch of people he did not know, but they were his family. He also finds his cousin, Jess, who looks just like him. While he was staying at the Square, he found out a lot of things. One of things that he found out was people need him because they need him to find the last treasure. He also finds out about his mother, his grandfather and why his dad did not want to come back to the Square. Using everyone at the Square¿s cooperation, Ellsworth eventually gets to find the last treasure at the end of the story. I would like to recommend this story to anybody who loves to read about exciting adventure, love of family, and cooperation with each other. While I was reading this book, I realized that even though Ellsworth was the youngest one at the Square, he could change his family. Because of him, all family cooperated and found the treasure. Also, fighting between families stopped because of him. Reading this story may teach readers to realize how family is important to everyone. It also will teach cooperation can solve any problems even though the problems are difficult.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was okay...I thought the ending was a little corny though. I read this and thought that it was a bit unrealistic, and the characters didn't have much character. I thought the author could have done better and be more descriptive, and also could have left out little parts that didn't matter in the end. It's just not my type of book, but I would recommend it to people who like... those kinds of books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Janet Anderson is a brilliant writer. The idea of a man wanting to keep his family together forever sets up things to save them hundreds of years later. I used the first chapter 'the haunting' for a student teaching project with the fifth grade student I am tutoring. She was so intrigued by the first chapter she asked to borrow my book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent.The ending was not what i expected.It got a little confusing from all the different people but it was still one of the best! I would recomend this to anyone who enjoys a good read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book. It's full of suspense and thrills! I absolutely LOVED the ending! Read this book and you'll see what I mean!
Sandi McCartney More than 1 year ago
it was very good and magical. but somtimes i didnt seem to get who is who and where are they? otherwise it was good.