freya blackwood

Protection: The Treasure Box

I recently received a copy of The Treasure Box, the latest picture book from Margaret Wild and Freya Blackwood (Penguin).

As soon as I unwrapped the book, I was spellbound. Drawn in by Freya’s gorgeous illustrations, by the boy sitting quietly, an untold treasure sitting on his knees, I sighed and promised myself I’d saviour every page of this beautiful book.

The Treasure Box 1

The Treasure Box has been described as ‘haunting and beautiful’, and while it is sad (it’s probably most suitable for 7+ years and you might like to coach the kids through it a bit), it is a incredibly moving lesson about the strength of the human spirit and the importance of a person’s story, it’s importance to who they were, who they are now and who they will be…

When the enemy bombed the library, everything burned.

As war rages, Peter and his father flee their home, taking with them a treasure box that holds something more precious than jewels. They journey through mud and rain and long cold nights, and soon their survival becomes more important than any possession they carry.

But as years go by, Peter never forgets the treasure box, and one day he returns to find it.

The story, and more particularly, the ‘book as treasure’ theme, will sit well with book lovers. The solace and consolation that Peter’s precious treasure brings is touching, to say the least…

Charred paper, frail as butterflies, flutter in the wind. People caught the words and cupped them in their hands.

Only one book survived. A book that Peter’s father had taken home to study. A book he loved more than any other.

When the enemy ordered everyone out of their houses, Peter’s father brought out a small iron box. ‘This will keep our treasure safe,’ he said.

Freya’s skilful illustration is essential to the story being told. The subtle three-dimensional nature of the collaged pictures ‘includes’ the reader, drawing them into the page and bringing to life the scene in a very special way.

The Treasure Box 2

The story begins in muted tones, greys and browns and dusty blues, and brightens as the story progresses. By the close, as Peter’s treasure is rediscovered and shared, the illustrations become brighter, reds and blues and yellows communicate a new hope, brought to be in part by the protection of Peter’s book.

In short, this is a moving, inspiring book. Read it with your kids, they might need help understanding some of the sadder themes, and do so understanding that this is an important story of what it is to triumph and protect.

The Treasure Box is available in the TBYL Store now for $24.99 (plus p&h)

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Weekend reading sorted

This week I have been hopelessly, wonderfully, terribly distracted. Most particularly I’ve been neck deep in new stock for The Store, and have lost hours to fiddling with our new O-Check stationery range, and the gorgeous 2pm at the Button Factory pieces that’s now on offer.

To add to this, I’m pretty sure that Oscar has not stopped talking since Monday, and has been quite insistent that I watch him dance/make play-dough butterflies/do backflips for the better part of the week.

As such, it has made it hard for me to stay on task. On most day’s I can write around the noise, but once I get a bit worn-out this becomes more difficult.

And so, I took a night off last night to watch the last bit of cricket for the season, treated myself to a nanna-nap this afternoon, and am now committed to doing some serious writing! I’ve got three reviews lined up for next week, Matt Johnstone’s Quiet the Mind, Andrew Lane’s Young Sherlock Holmes – Fire Storm, and Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, so there will be no shortage of reading ideas for young and old.

For this afternoon though, I thought I’d share with you the lovely books that Oscar and I picked up at the library today. He’s really into reading again at the moment, and so I thought some choice picture books were in order for over the weekend. Here’s what’s on the shelf…

Whose Belly? by Jeannette Rowe
A cheeky, fold-out book about bellies, of all things! Bright and colourful, this one will get a few reads, and a few giggles no doubt. Not a lot of reading, but great illustrations and funny tummies.


The Wrong Book, by Nick Bland
This is my pick of the bunch, this book is hilarious. Again, cheeky to boot, and I just love feisty Nicholas Ickle. Oscar had lots of fun with this one too. He seems to be getting to the point with his reading where he tries to ‘reads along.’ This book is perfect for developing this skill, with rhythm, repetition and gorgeous illustrations. Nick Bland is a bit of a favourite here at That Book You Like and you might remember a special guest post about Nick Bland last year…read it here

Ivy Loves to Give, by Freya Blackwood
Last week we read The Runaway Hug (by Nick Bland and Freya) and this stunning picture book is very similar in tone, pace and look. I chose it because I love the look of it, and Oscar really enjoyed the story. I’ll read this one to him a few times over because I love the way it sounds. These types of books are really lovely, and quite important I think, in that they quiet the pace a little and teach otherwise burley little boys a little about small kindnesses. Jackie over at My Little Bookcase reviewed this book last year…read it here

I Want a Pet, by Lauren Child
Another funky, colourful picture book, although I must admit I’m a little worried that Oscar will try and hit me up for a lion or a bat for a pet after reading this one. The illustrations, crazy, scruffy and bright will give us plenty to talk about as we read this one.

That should keep us busy for a little while.

What are you reading with your kids at the moment?