Uri Shulevitz, The Treasure
I want to share one of my favorite books with you. I found this book to be tremendously meaningful and it has had a high impact on my life. Even your three year-olds will love it. Check it out at your local library! The name of the book is The Treasure, and it is well-named. The author, Uri Shulevitz, was a World War II refugee from Warsaw, Poland. After spending time in Paris, his family immigrated to Israel, where he studied as a teenager at The Art Institute of Tel Aviv. He had many different jobs in Israel, from a dog license clerk at City Hall, to working at a rubber stamp shop. At 24, he moved to New York City and studied painting at The Brooklyn Museum of Art. At that point he began working as an illustrator for Hebrew books, but he realized that his doodles lent themselves to children's illustrations and he illustrated his first book for children in 1963. He has written many celebrated books and has been a Caldecott Honor winner three times, and won the Caldecott Medal once. It's the story of a Russian peasant named Isaac and starts with the phrase, "He lived in such poverty that again and again he went to bed hungry." One night he had a dream that if he went to the palace, and dug in the courtyard of the palace, he would find a treasure. He ignored it. The same dream was repeated the next two nights, and after three times he decided to act on the dream. He walked and hitchhiked on old farm carts over hill and dale to the splendor of the capital city. But day after day, as he paced the entrance to the palace, he realized it was heavily guarded and gaining entrance would be impossible. He attracted the notice of one of the guards who asked him what he was doing. Isaac shared his dream with the guard and the guard told him that he had had a similar dream, but that it was about a man named Isaac, from the town Isaac had come from. Isaac turned around and walked many days back home. Upon arriving, he dug under his kitchen stove as the guard had suggested and there was the treasure! He sent a perfect ruby to the guard in gratitude, and in thanksgiving built a house of prayer with the money. On the wall of the house of prayer he placed a plaque inscribed with the words, "Sometimes one must travel far to discover what is near." Uri Shulevitz credits his teachers with teaching him how to paint like the masters, and his illustrations reflect that. The flavor and the pathos of the writing of the book are very moving and the message is timeless. This is a perfect example of C.S. Lewis's observation that a good book has no age and that a book worth reading at age five should also be worth reading at 55. Everyone in your family will get something out of this book and I recommend you add it to your home library.