Author/Illustrator: Viviane Schwarz
Age Group: 3-8
Synopsis: Anna and Crocodile are determined to find some gold. Once they figure out where it might be, neither is likely to back down from any challenge facing them.
The Low Down:
I loved Calvin and Hobbes as a kid. There was something about Calvin’s creative mind that just spoke to me. Besides, who wouldn’t want a tiger for a friend? I feel like Anna and Crocodile in How to Find Gold, are a version of Calvin and Hobbes. Setting sail on imagination and only limited by their minds, these two can get up to some serious adventures in no time. Viviane Schwarz does an amazing job of enticing the reader to come along for the ride.
The story begins by introducing the reader to Anna and Crocodile and cementing the fact that their friendship is deep and true. We then follow along as they figure out how to go about finding gold. There’s training involved and map-studying. All things that Bug and I enjoyed acting out as we read. We especially enjoyed making secret faces and invited Bug’s toys to try too. They were surprisingly good, although Bug told one not to smile so much.
After Anna and Crocodile get in their boat to find the gold they end up finding a storm. They jump in head first and swim through several magical, wordless pages full of illustrations that glisten. In the end they bury not only the gold but the map for the gold on an island, after a well argued bit of logic is presented. They end reflecting that not only the gold but the journey and friendship are theirs forever.
The story is sweet and so simply drawn. Schwarz has a definite style throughout the story but as soon as Anna and Crocodile set sail on their adventure it varied slightly. It began to carry the glamour that adventure can bring. Some how the colors became more vibrant, more details were in view. The pages just seemed to shimmer. As a child those adventures can take on the glamour, whether it’s real or imagined. It was so amazing to see that memory as I read and to see it reflected in Bug as we searched for our own gold shortly after finishing the story.
- Just because there are two full pages without words doesn’t mean there’s no story. Let your little one tell you what’s going on.
I need more!
I hadn’t seen a Viviane Schwarz book before but was so pleased that she has more available. I’m especially looking forward to checking out her There are no Cats in this Book series. She has a great comprehensive website at: http://www.vivianeschwarz.co.uk
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