cover image How to Find Gold

How to Find Gold

Viviane Schwarz. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8104-3

In a story about friendship and the dynamics of pretend play, a fearless, amber-skinned girl named Anna and her pragmatic friend Crocodile hatch a plan: to find gold! When Crocodile suggests that such a quest “would be dangerous and difficult,” Anna responds with a confident “Good!” But finding gold requires planning: Anna and Crocodile practice their “secret faces” so no one will know what they are up to and make a hodgepodge treasure map of taped-together drawings (“The gold is in France!” Anna announces after placing an X there). After their attention turns to “sunken gold,” Anna and Crocodile sail into a storm and dive “right into the middle of it,” discovering a trove of gold in a shipwreck. Schwarz (There Are No Cats in This Book) uses an exuberant mix of styles—sketched pencil backgrounds, sweeping watercolor landscapes, and childlike crayon drawings—to create the fertile world of Anna’s imaginings (which Crocodile may or may not be part of). Schwarz is keenly aware of the joy in planning and plotting an adventure, and the banter between her leads offers laughs throughout. Ages 2–5. (Mar.)