A Treasure's Trove

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
A Treasure's Trove Book Poster Image
Mediocre story with brilliant marketing.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

Creatures, including a main character, are turned to crystal.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that young, sensitive readers may be bothered by the apparent death of a cute main character (though it turns out not to be true). There's also an odd (for a picture book) reference to a "warm, slow" kiss.

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What's the story?

The forest is slowly being killed, and its inhabitants are endangered thanks to the evil Rusful, the Blight-Spreader, and his minions, the Darklings. These creatures spread a dust that turns living beings into crystal jewels, which Rusful collects and covets. To fight back, some of the forest creatures join forces with the fairies and Yorah, a wise old tree.

Meanwhile, Ana, the newly married wife of Zac, a goodhearted woodcarver, is kidnapped by Rusful, who demands that Zac recover the jewels the fairies have stolen from him and hidden. Throughout the story and pictures are clues to the real-world locations of 12 jeweled creatures, now all found, which the author had hidden around the country.

Is it any good?

Stadther has considerable talent, and this is clearly a labor of love; but the story is stock and predictable, the characters are trite, and the paintings are garish and awkward. That's not to say your kids won't enjoy it, though they may be disappointed that the treasures have all been found. Notably, hardly any children were involved in finding the treasures.

Michael Stadther had been obsessed since childhood with treasure hunts, so he decided to write and illustrate a book with clues to hidden treasures. When he couldn't find a publisher willing to bite, he published it himself and taught those snooty publishers an important lesson: With the right marketing, even mediocre fluff like this can hit the bestseller lists. There's nothing really wrong with A TREASURE'S TROVE, and nothing really objectionable either. It's just not very good.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the clues to the treasures. Though all have now been found, it could still be fun to figure out the codes and hints.

Book details

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