the arrival

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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Book in the date winner!

Sounds like there is going to be a eager crowd at the Melbourne Writers Festival, with many and varied interests! It was great to hear about your fav events and it was really lovely to hear from some new friends.

I’m pleased to announce, that Kay Hart is the winner of That Book You Like’s August give-away.  Kay, I’m sure you’ll have an amazing night at the Melbourne Recital Centre seeing Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. Just email me your details (name, email, phone number) to by COB end of Thursday, 18 August and arrangements will be made!

Again, thanks so much to everyone for sharing and for joining in the fun. Keep an eye out for lots of reviews coming straight from the festival and of course don’t forget to follow my blog around on Facebook  and  Twitter.


This special keynote event is now sold out, but there are still tickets to the In Conversation session with Shaun Tan (3 Sept 2011). Click here to find out more about the event or to buy tickets.

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August give-away: Festival Tix

I think it’s been fairly well established that I’m very excited about the Melbourne Writers Festival. It’s a fabulous opportunity to hear from some great writers and lovers of all things wordy. The program is rich, and the two keynote events promise to be extremely entertaining.

Image: S. Tan

For our August give-away, you’ll get a chance to get involved with Stories Unbound yourself.

I’m so pleased to be able to offer a lucky winner a double pass to the festival’s keynote event – Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.

The inventive graphic stories of internationally renowned local illustrator Shaun Tan have already migrated from page to screen, with the Oscar-winning film The Lost Thing. Now, Tan’s much-loved The Arrival – following the melancholic yet hopeful adventures of a refugee in a strange world – has been brought to life in music by Sydney composer and musician Ben Walsh. An amazing live ‘sonic-scape’, performed by the multi-instrumental Orkestra of the Underground, accompanies projections of Tan’s exquisite illustrations. Tan will introduce this performance via video. This remarkable collaboration makes its Victorian premiere as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival. (MWF Program,

Tan is a unique talent, his books haunting, and this event promises to be something very special.

To go into the running to win this double pass, all you have to do is have a look over the festival program, and tell us what other event you’d most like to go to. Then:

1. Leave a comment on this post, or

2. Visit That Book You Like‘s Facebook page

…and tell us what you’d choose, and why.

The winner of this month’s competition (selected at random) will receive a double pass to attend the keynote event – Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.

This competition is short and sharp, and entries close next Tuesday, 16 August 2011.

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