Little treasure by Chanelle Gosper. Illus. by Jennifer Goldsmith

cover image

An afternoon spent by the beach gives the opportunity for a mother and daughter to strengthen their relationship over the things they find by the sea. As they wander by the shore, the girl picks up little treasures which she shows her mother in her cupped hands. "Look", she says as they wonder at the small purse pebble, the strand of seaweed, blue sea glass and a tiny heart shaped pink shell. They take these precious jewels down to the sea where they spy a ship passing by taking goods to far away places. They build a sand castle to house their treasures, and splash through the water nearby. Running up the sand dunes, they leave behind footprints that look like stepping stones between them, and the girl sits on top of one dune, surveying the world beneath her feet.

All the while, mother and daughter are sharing adventures, sights, sounds and found objects, bringing them closer together, sharing things that will be wonderful memories when they return home. The simplest of things, an afternoon at the beach can be suffused with imagination and activities that are not done everyday, so creating a stronger bond between the woman and her child.

Told in verse form, the story begs to be read aloud, encouraging young children to join in with the repeated words, and predict the rhyming word at the end of each line.

The story evokes the strong connection between mother and daughter, and this connection is beautifully depicted with the stunning illustrations. The spectacle of the sea and sky and the sand dunes, gives every reader a sense of the openness, the vista, the panorama of being at the beach where no one else can be seen, their footprints the only ones there. Water colour and pencil illustrations are cut out and reformed to make collage spreads, illustrating their time at the beach and all that they saw. Younger children will love picking out the detail on each page. I loved the rock pool, where the two are paddling and seeing what they can see. Goldsmith’s water colour technique gives the reader a soft, loving and companionable feel to the images, and nowhere is this more striking than the last page where they are sharing the pink shell surrounded by some of the other things they found during their time at the beach. A wonderful offering for Mother’s Day, reiterating the joy to be found in doing the simplest of things together.

Themes: Mother’s Day, Mothers and daughters, Beach, Sea shells, Sand castles, Family.

Fran Knight