The Treasure Box

Dave J. Keane, illus. by Rahele Jomepour Bell. Putnam, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-984813-18-3

This closely observed portrait of a shared bond between a grandparent and grandchild explores love and loss. The brown-skinned grandchild, who wears a long dark braid, narrates, describing the treasures she’s found that she’ll share with her grandfather, small objects that others might dismiss: “A very round and very smooth rock./ A green parachute guy who lost his parachute./ A suit of dried-up skin a snake left behind.” After visiting with the child’s parents, the grandfather inspects the new finds: “I make him hold the snake skin,/ even though he doesn’t want to./ He makes the funniest faces,” reads an intimate aside. Digital illustrations by Bell (Our Favorite Day of the Year) show the child stretched out in a fit of laughter, completely relaxed; Grandpa looks comically uneasy in his glasses and woolly socks. After Grandpa gets sick, he remains able to see treasures (“Grandpa has tubes in his nose, but he can still make funny faces”). When he dies, Keane (Who Wants a Tortoise?) expresses the child’s grief with restraint—the memorial service is “a sad party you have when someone dies”—and the loss slowly leads to someone new to share treasure with. Keane writes with sensitivity and deep feeling, and Bell’s images give the story freshness and immediacy. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jennifer Mattson, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Christy T. Ewers, the CAT Agency. (Jan.)