Friday, April 22, 2011

The Minnow Leads to Treasure, by A. Philippa Pearce

This week I have posted  books where the  main character is a girl, so it's time for a book with a boy. The Minnow is a canoe that David Moss finds at the end of his garden after a storm. The boat actually belongs to Adam Codling, who lives with his Aunt Dinah and who is about to lose his house.

Adam has a clue to the family treasure, though, which is hidden "somewhere near water." So Adam and  David take The Minnow out on the river all summer, making for gorgeous, golden prose describing the boys' adventures.

The old edition I have is a hardback with illustrations by the immortal Edward Ardizzone. His cross-hatch style illustrates the juxtaposition between exciting adventure and peaceful summer atmosphere perfectly.

David and Adam are true boys, thinking about food and adventure and their boat, the Minnow. They have to earn money to paint the ship and then take it into  the river; all the while they are trying to puzzle out the meaning of  the Codling Riddle:

"When Phiilip came to the single rose
Over the water,
The treasure was taken where no one knows
None but my daughter."

And there  are side plots, like the acquisition of several kittens, and whether Adam can have a cat at all, since he and his aunt are desperately short of money and about to lose their home.

'Every day now David spent his  afternon with Adam Codling working on the canoe. Every afternoon he stayed to tea with Adam, until Mrs. Moss grew quite worried.
"Why don't you ask him to tea here, David? It's hard on Mrs. Codling to be always giving you tea - I know your appetite.
"But we can't work on the canoe here, Mother," said David.
"That canoe!" sighed  Mrs. Moss.'


Krista McLaughlin said...

Sounds like a good book for boys! :)

Karen deBlieck said...

Your love of books comes through in every post. :) I'm sure my kids would love this book.

Alison DeLuca said...

Well, thanks! Yes, I really, really love books and reading. And writing. And reading your comments :)

Catherine Stine said...

Boys and their boats, ah yah!
Don't you just adore those old children's books with line illustrations?! I especially love trolling around in used book shops for turn of the century ones.