How to Find Gold

illus. by Viviane Schwarz. 32p. Candlewick. Mar. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763681043.
K-Gr 2—Anna encourages her good buddy Crocodile to embark with her on a dangerous and difficult adventure finding gold. Some of the logical steps they follow to accomplish this challenging feat include mastering a "secret" face, being strong enough to carry the gold (which Anna practices by carrying Crocodile), and drawing a map with an "X" on it. Once they decide to go after sunken instead of buried gold, the duo dive into the sea, find the priceless treasure, and then decide to keep their discovery secret by burying it along with another map. Schwarz creates an imaginative and quirky adventure about two unlikely friends who invent their own kind of fun. Everything make-believe, particularly the underwater escapade, is depicted using vibrant crayon and watercolor illustrations. The subtle pencil drawings of a crude stick house that the two return to makes an effective comparison. The amusing rapport between the two cooperative friends is as compelling as the adventure itself, proving that all pursuits are better with a good friend to join in. Portraying Crocodile as the "rational" advisor of the operation makes the story even more hilarious, particularly when he suggests that Anna practice a secret face like his. Children will easily sense that the thrill of the adventure far outweighs the end result when Anna and Croc hide the gold instead of keeping it.
VERDICT An unusual and captivating tale that will attract a willing audience.

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