The Last Treasure

Common Sense Media says

A ghost, a family mystery, and treasure.





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that at the heart of this mystery-fantasy are family relationships, and the emotionally fraught family squabbling that leads to separation and misery.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Ellsworth, living with his widowed father, has never met any of his relatives, and his father won't say why. But on his thirteenth birthday he receives an invitation from an elderly cousin, Elizabeth, to return to the ancestral family home, ten houses on a Square. His father, very reluctantly, agrees to let him go.

Ellsworth has seen a picture of the Square, had strange dreams about it, and heard stories of the Treasures hidden there by his ancestor, John Matthew. But the Square, and his relatives who inhabit it, are devastated by fighting and loss, and are barely a family any longer. Of the three original Treasures, only one is left to be discovered, but perhaps the prescient John Matthew made arrangements for more than his descendants' financial well-being.

Is it any good?


Atmospheric, lyrical, and fascinating are all reasonable descriptions of this Edgar Allen Poe Award nominee; so are complex, confusing, too many characters, and too subtle. To really get this book requires turning right back to the beginning and reading it again. A story involving a ghost, mystery, and hidden treasure is bound to be intriguing, and for kids who like this sort of thing, putting together all the pieces of the puzzle adds to the appeal. But some kids will just find it confusing, though the basic plot may be enough to carry them through.

THE LAST TREASURE is full of intriguing plot elements (a ghost, a goldfish, an unfinished book, and lots more) that don't seem to lead to anything. But some of them do, in very subtle ways. Others don't seem to, but this author can be sneaky and devious, so one is unwilling to be certain.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about family dynamics. Kids may also be inspired to explore their own family histories, and to research apostle spoons.

Book details

Author:Janet S. Anderson
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dutton Children's Books
Publication date:August 12, 2004
Number of pages:257

This review of The Last Treasure was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byawesume April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Great Book!

It was a wonderful book! I loved it so much.It only took me a dat to read. It was so heartwarming that John Matthew smith went through so much trouble to make sure his family was safe and still together.
Adult Written byJulianna-banana April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


Such a good story about family and sticking together. Our mom-daughter book club read it and loved it.
Teen, 14 years old Written byttime February 11, 2010
I am an eigth grader, i recently finished the book and thought it was ok but the story line was cheesy and very predictable and the ending was also cheesy. But overall i guess it was a good book and i would possibly read it again.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism


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