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by Gina Willner-Pardo & illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1996
ISBN: 0-395-68190-1
Publisher: Clarion

 A short novella of the coming-to-terms--rather than coming-of-age--variety. The narrator's grandmother dies in the first chapter and leaves behind a secret: clues for a treasure hunt to be held the following summer during the annual lakeside family reunion. Then come uneasy scenes of the family at the lake without Grandma, the hunt and subsequent discovery of her treasures: trees she planted before dying, one for each of seven grandchildren. The writing is careful, infrequently invoking poetic images and occasionally falling prey to sentimentality. Most of the text consists of unlikely, deliberately double-edged conversations among the children. They can't express their feelings and don't know what to say; Willner-Pardo (who teamed with Krudop previously on What I'll Remember When I Am a Grownup, 1994) tries to capture their natural inarticulateness in dialogue, with the unintended result of leaving readers in her wake. The restrained, blurry light of the oil paintings looks precisely as if ``someone had forgotten to dust the sun'' and are wholly evocative of the text's brooding mood. (Fiction. 6-10)