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Thursday, August 4, 2016

How To Find Gold, written and illustrated by Viviane Schwarz. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2016. $22.00 ages 3 and up

"Gold is always hidden.
We need a map with an X
where the gold is," said
"That's easy," said Anna.
"Draw a map of the whole
world, to be sure."
"It doesn't have an X,"
said Crocodile when the
map was finished."

Friendship and imagination are the mix for this tale about an intrepid young girl and her crocodile companion. They want to find gold, and know it will take a plan to make it happen. Crocodile fears that  the search might be filled with peril; if so, Anna will be overjoyed.

The planning will be tricky and must be kept secret! They practise secret faces, their ability to carry what is sure to be heavy, and mapping. Crocodile's drawings are detailed. Anna is ready. They set their sights on 'sunken gold'. Once at sea they carefully watch the horizon until Crocodile makes a discovery:

"Ha!" said Crocodile. "How about over there,
where the sea is boiling and the clouds are
like a tower and the fish are in the air?"

"A great storm!" said Anna. "There will be gold!"

They face down the storm, dive right into the sea, discover gold, and then make an alternate plan!

I love the mix of styles that Ms. Schwarz uses to create these charming illustrations. She uses pencil, crayon and watercolor to design the amazing world that exists in Anna's imagination.  Red (Anna's dress) and green (Crocodile's skin) keep our focus in the right place throughout. Imagination spawns full color spreads filled with action and adventure. Kids love treasure and the hunt for it. They will want to hear Anna's story more than one time. Each time it is shared, they are sure to find something new on its pages.

It's a grand sea-faring adventure!

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