THE TREASURE by Uri Shulevitz

THE TREASURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

As Jacobs tells it in "The Pedlar of Swaffham" and two 1971 picture-book versions set forth, a poor man is directed by a dream to London Bridge, where a shopkeeper dismissively recites his dream of a treasure buried in the traveler's own back yard. Here the dreamer is a poor old man named Isaac (Jewish? Shulevitz doesn't say), the setting indefinite (just "a bridge by the Royal Palace"), and instead of a church the man builds an unspecified "house of prayer" in Thanksgiving. What Shulevitz gives up in cultural specificity he apparently seeks to gain in a kind of generalized holiness; his lovely colors glow with what might well be taken for celestial light. But, a child might ask--the house of prayer notwithstanding--what's so holy about going off and back for a treasure? And, visually, what's so interesting about a solitary old man walking through forests and mountains and then back again to his own cramped street? Without the associations of a particular faith or setting, we have only the old man's conclusion: "Sometimes one must travel far to discover what is near"--a message unlikely to ring bells at the picture-book level.
Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1979
ISBN: 0374479550
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1979




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