Unclaimed Treasures

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Overview

Willa does fall in love, but it isn't at all the way she dreamed it would be. And just what is extraordinary? Willa and twin brother Nicky's mother is going to have a baby-how ordinary. Their friend Horace's mother has left to"seek her fortune."That, Willa thinks, is extraordinary. Willa is on the verge of learning something important. And by the end of the long summer, Willa, Nicky, and Horace each do something extraordinary and unforgettable.

As eleven-year-old ...

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Unclaimed Treasures

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Overview

Willa does fall in love, but it isn't at all the way she dreamed it would be. And just what is extraordinary? Willa and twin brother Nicky's mother is going to have a baby-how ordinary. Their friend Horace's mother has left to"seek her fortune."That, Willa thinks, is extraordinary. Willa is on the verge of learning something important. And by the end of the long summer, Willa, Nicky, and Horace each do something extraordinary and unforgettable.

As eleven-year-old Willa looks for something extraordinary in her life, her twin, Nicholas, shows her that what is ordinary to some, can be extraordinary to others.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064401890
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Series: MacLachlan Repackages Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.84 (w) x 7.92 (h) x 0.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia MacLachlan is the celebrated author of many timeless books for young readers, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal. Her novels for young readers include Arthur, For the Very First Time; The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt; Skylark; Caleb's Story; More Perfect than the Moon; Grandfather's Dance; and Word After Word After Word. She is also the author of many much-loved picture books, including Three Names; All the Places to Love; What You Know First; Painting the Wind; Bittle; Who Loves Me?; Once I Ate a Pie; I Didn't Do It; and Before You Came, several of which she cowrote with her daughter, Emily. She lives with her husband and two border terriers in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It was a summer that began and nearly ended with a death. One of the next-door aunts died the first week that Willa and Nicholas moved to their new house. The air was still and balmy, and they hung out the upstairs window watching the relatives and friends parade in and out of the gray Victorian house next door.

"It looks like a parade of ants," said Nicholas, hanging way too far out the window. "Aunts, ants. Get it?"

"Yes," said Willa, hanging on to his pants and watching for her true love.

Willa was always watching for her true love, in every line outside the movie theater or ice rink or at the bank. Stopped at a light, Willa always looked over to the next car for him. He would, she knew, be tall and solemn. Solemn. Not like her mother, who was loud and cheerful and wore bright colors. Not like her father, who murmured a lot and rustled his class papers. Willa loved her mother, though she did not understand her. Willa loved her father, too. He was the one who came up at night and nuzzled in Willa's neck and sang songs she knew he made up. They droned some like a hive of bees and put her to sleep. Willa had read in a book once that she might fall in love with her father. So she tried-but she couldn't. She threw herself into his arms once, pressing up close against him, whispering in his ear the way it was done in the movies. He had looked at her strangely, smiling, as if he had read the same book or seen the same movies.

"Great Hoover Dam," said Nicholas in the window. Will you look at all the long black cars."

Willa smiled. Nicholas was experimenting with bad nguage, slightly disguised. She squeezed next to Nickyand leaned farther out. Maybe her true love would be an undertaker. The undertakers were dressed in black, and they wore gloves and looked solemn. All except the one who was earnestly picking his nose.

None was her true love.

As Willa and Nicholas watched, a door to the side porch next door opened, and a boy came out to sit on the step. He began eating an apple, neatly spitting out the peel as he ate. He looked up and saw them the window.

"Hi," he called. His hair was fair and hadn't been brushed. "You're spitting out the healthiest part of the apple," Willa called.

The boy nodded, smiling slightly.

"I'm sorry someone died there," said Nicholas kindly.

Willa was horrified. Things like death and pimples and mayonnaise in the corner of someone's mouth were best left unmentioned, she thought.

The boy was not horrified, however.

"It's an aunt," he called up. "A great-aunt. One of the Unclaimed Treasures."

"Unclaimed Treasures?" asked Willa.

"One of the aunts," he said. "Unmarried. Unclaimed. There are two left over," he added. He spit a large piece of apple peel into the bushes. "Why don't you come visit?"

Nicky and Willa looked at each other. Go over next door? Where there was a funeral? For someone they didn't know?

"I've never been to a funeral," whispered Nicky. It was clear he wished to go.

Willa stood up, her face pale.

"But there's a dead aunt over there," she whispered.

Nicholas took her hand.

"Death," he announced, "is not catching, Willa."

And that was the beginning.

The boy's name, it turned out, was an unfortunate one-Horace Morris-though it did not trouble him. He announced it matter-of-factly, calmly, like a weatherman announcing rain.

"I'm Willa Pinkerton," said Willa. "And this is my younger brother, Nicholas." Seven minutes younger Nicky was, since they were twins. But Willa always introduced him as her younger brother. And Nicky, being Nicky, never cared,

"Come on." Horace Morris beckoned them. "There's good food inside." It was obvious Horace Morris liked food. His pants bulged at the pockets, and he had a slight roll over his belt.

Inside, the kitchen had large black and white floor tiles, splendid for hopscotch, Willa thought, and high ceilings and lots of food and people. Everyone there was smiling and talking, including Horace's two aunts — the leftover Unclaimed Treasures. They did not look like any aunts Willa and Nicholas had ever seen before. Though they were great-aunts, ancient and wrinkled, they were dressed in bright colors, and they were drinking and smoking. Aunt Lulu was teetering on lavender high-heeled shoes with many straps that crisscrossed and crept up her legs, ending somewhere under her dress.

"How nice for Horace to have you here!" she exclaimed. "You may try the wine."

The plump one was Aunt Crystal.

"Welcome to the neighborhood," she said. "The former owners of your house did not treat our cats with respect."

Willa noticed that there were two cats on the counter attacking a roasted turkey.

"We have three cats," Aunt Crystal confided. "The two on the counter are named Black and Blue because younger brother, Nicholas." Seven minutes younger Nicky was, since they were twins. But Willa always introduced him as her younger brother. And Nicky, being Nicky, never cared,

"Come on." Horace Morris beckoned them. "There's good food inside." It was obvious Horace Morris liked food. His pants bulged at the pockets, and he had a slight roll over his belt.

Inside, the kitchen had large black and white floor tiles, splendid for hopscotch, Willa thought, and high ceilings and lots of food and people. Everyone there was smiling and talking, including Horace's two auntsthe leftover Unclaimed Treasures. They did not look like any aunts Willa and Nicholas had ever seen before. Though they were great-aunts, ancient and wrinkled, they were dressed in bright colors, and they were drinking and smoking. Aunt Lulu was teetering on lavender high-heeled shoes with many straps that crisscrossed and...

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