THE LAST TREASURE by Janet S. Anderson
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 10 - 14
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Anderson offers a beauty—rich, multilayered, full of stories within stories, with the ethereal touch she showed so deftly in Going Through the Gate (1997) and The Monkey Tree (1998). On his 13th birthday, Ellsworth Smith—his father calls him Zee—finds, as usual, a card from his distant cousin Elizabeth. This time, though, she asks him to come to Smiths Mills in upstate New York, to the family’s place, and sends him the money to do so. Zee’s dad, Ben Robert, cannot even talk about his family, so Zee makes the journey alone. It’s a wonderful place, where, in the 19th century, John Matthew Smith built ten houses around the Sward for his children and left treasures for them. As the tale unfolds, Zee, along with his vibrant, jittery girl cousin, Jess, learns in complicated ways how the first two treasures were found in houses now abandoned. Zee learns which cousins no longer speak, which can do nothing but fight, and sees how traits of artistic talent, mechanical puzzles, and love of animals run through the family. The Civil War, Quaker belief, and the joys of cats all play a role here, but none so strong as the fierce bonds between parent and child, brother and cousin, and soon, between Jess and Zee, who look alike enough to be twins. They discover that treasure comes in many forms. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-525-46919-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2003


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