Pablo Finds a Treasure

Andrée Poulin, illus. by Isabelle Malenfant. Annick (PGW, dist.), $9.95 trade paper (32p) ISBN 978-1-55451-866-1
Poulin (The Biggest Poutine in the World) and Malenfant (Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress) transport readers to an unspecified Latin-American nation where siblings Sofia and Pablo spend their days combing through a mountain of trash in search of anything that might be sold to help the family make ends meet. There’s no danger of their situation being sugarcoated or romanticized: Pablo is knocked to the ground in the scramble to pore over newly deposited trash, and Sofia cuts her arm retrieving a single blue boot, which Pablo immediately puts on, even though it’s too big for him. Malefant uses angry scribbles of black to capture the dirty, dangerous environment; splashes of pale color highlight the siblings’ mutual devotion and moments of muted hope. One such moment is Pablo’s discovery of a gold chain, a treasure that is nearly stolen away by Filthy-Face, a violent man who claims the children’s findings. It’s a grim reminder of the harsh realities of contemporary poverty, and adult readers should be prepared to fill in details not explained within the story itself. Ages 6–9. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-55451-867-8
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