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Hunting Grandma's Treasures
     

Hunting Grandma's Treasures

by Gina Willner-Pardo, Walter L. Krudop (Illustrator)
 
After his grandmother's death, Kevin finds that summer at Wrigley Lake with the family isn't the same as other summers, no matter how hard he tries to make it so.

Overview

After his grandmother's death, Kevin finds that summer at Wrigley Lake with the family isn't the same as other summers, no matter how hard he tries to make it so.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3-5Upon acknowledging his Grandmother's terminal illness, Kevin becomes increasingly apprehensive about the annual family vacation. Grandma helps to allay his sadness by furnishing him with a secret. Three months later, the woman's absence is indeed palpable as the relatives begin to assemble at Wrigley Lake. When they have all arrived, Kevin reveals Grandma's legacy: detailed instructions for one last traditional treasure hunt, which provides a catharsis and sense of closure for everyone. Themes of continuity are intertwined with themes of change throughout the story, which is told from Kevin's point of view. The resolution may be especially meaningful to readers who have lived through a similar loss. Full- and half-page oil paintings with a hazy, impressionistic quality illustrate each brief chapter, successfully conveying moods and emotions, both in the characters' faces and in the surrounding landscape.Mary Margaret Pitts, Boston Public Library, Hyde Park, MA
Hazel Rochman
Grandma is dying. Kevin doesn't like it. Not one bit. It's so unfair. After the funeral when the family returns to their summer campsite, he tries to have fun as always, but missing Grandma is always with him. This quiet chapter book dramatizes how a boy copes with grief. Kevin's first-person narrative describes the various stages of anger, denial, depression, and acceptance. There's a story, too--Grandma leaves Kevin a secret letter with clues for all the grandchildren to find treasure on the island. The treasure turns out to be a tree planted for each of them, but above all, Kevin discovers that some changes are good, and his memories of Grandma help him see that. Walter Krudop's slightly blurry oil paintings show the close family bonds, and the lakeside camp setting puts the personal loss within a natural world of growth and change. The honest, nonexploitative treatment of grief makes this a bibliotherapeutic story that will help kids confront what they cannot quite express.
Kirkus Reviews
A short novella of the coming-to-terms—rather than coming-of-age—variety. The narrator's grandmother dies in the first chapter and leaves behind a secret: clues for a treasure hunt to be held the following summer during the annual lakeside family reunion. Then come uneasy scenes of the family at the lake without Grandma, the hunt and subsequent discovery of her treasures: trees she planted before dying, one for each of seven grandchildren.

The writing is careful, infrequently invoking poetic images and occasionally falling prey to sentimentality. Most of the text consists of unlikely, deliberately double-edged conversations among the children. They can't express their feelings and don't know what to say; Willner-Pardo (who teamed with Krudop previously on What I'll Remember When I Am a Grownup, 1994) tries to capture their natural inarticulateness in dialogue, with the unintended result of leaving readers in her wake. The restrained, blurry light of the oil paintings looks precisely as if "someone had forgotten to dust the sun" and are wholly evocative of the text's brooding mood.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395681909
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
02/18/1996
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
7.58(w) x 9.33(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Gina Willner-Pardo is the author of 15 books, including Jason and the Losers and Figuring Out Frances, which won the Bank Street College of Education Josette Frank Award. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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