The Treasure Box is the beautiful result of the combined talents of Margaret Wild and Freya Blackwood.
The ‘enemy’ bombs the library in Peter’s town in a devastating attack, the book that his father has borrowed is the only one to survive. When Peter’s family are ordered out of their house, the box is safely nestled in the iron treasure box as his father explains to him that this book is,
‘rarer than rubies, more splendid than silver, greater than gold.’Margaret Wild’s thought provoking narrative follows Peter and his father as they escape the city. Peter is challenged to fulfil the promise he has made to his father to keep their treasure safe.
Touching and sombre The Treasure Box is a tale of survival, of what is important, and of human resilience. Delicate, carefully crafted sentences build the story in a controlled, yet evocative manner making this a valuable book for older readers.
Freya Blackwood’s illustrations add many powerful dimensions to the story. The muted greys and browns effectively mirror the mood during the opening half, with the brillant red of the book emphasising its central importance. The layering effect of the illustrations create depth and shadows pulling the reader into their details. Within the layering Blackwood has included pages of text, these have been taken from foreign editions of The Silver Donkey (Sonya Hartnett) and Morris Gletizman’s Once and Then, the symbolisim of their inclusion is a powerful one.
As the narrative moves on to Peter as a man, returning to his village and his treasure, the colour palette lifts to include the warming, natural tones of green, blue and yellow. Together with Wild’s narrative, they sweep the book to an uplifting and satisfying conclusion.
Read our interview with Freya Blackwood, including her thoughts on illustrating The Treasure Box.