cover image TREASURE HUNT


Allan Ahlberg, , illus. by Gillian Tyler. . Candlewick, $14.99 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1542-0

The team behind The Snail House present a pigtailed toddler named Tilly who loves treasure hunts, and whose parents are only too happy to oblige. "Each morning Tilly's mom hides Tilly's breakfast banana somewhere in the kitchen. And Tilly hunts for it, and hunts for it... and finds it," begins the perfectly paced narrative. Tyler sets the scene with a framed view of the kitchen, then traces Tilly's search with spot watercolors that dance around the text, as Tilly looks first in the cookie jar, then the refrigerator, and finally locates "My treasure!" in the laundry basket. The artist links one search with the next, as Tilly's dad holds her rabbit at the breakfast table, then after breakfast hides the rabbit in the garage. On the spread where she finds the toy rabbit, Tilly watches her cat disappear through the cat door, leading into the next snow-covered spread and a search for her feline. Tyler's watercolors convey a toddler both winsome and authentically single-minded in her determination (as when Tilly looks for a stuffed toy inside the opening of a hose nozzle), and the effervescent vignettes convey a keen sense of humor. At bedtime, when Mom and Dad carry out the climactic "search" for Tilly, they clearly enjoy feigning bewilderment (Dad looks for his daughter inside a pot, while Mom stands on a kitchen chair, surveying the area with binoculars). The wrap-up hits just the right note. Ages 3-6. (Apr.)