Three times a voice comes to Isaac in his dreams and tells him to go to the capital city and look for a treasure under the bridge by the royal palace. Feeling a little foolish perhaps, but determined to see for himself if the dream is true, Isaac sets out on his long journey. What he finds makes a surprising and heart-warming ending to this retelling of a well-known folk tale. In a few words, Cadelcott Medal winner Uri Shulevitz draws a man who is innocent enough to have faith in a dream, and wise enough to understand the greatest reward of all.
Isaac's solitary journey, his arrival at hte vast city, and his discovery there are all enriched by Mr. Shulevitz's beautifully detailed illustrations, which masterfully capture the spirit of the original tale while keeping it simple enough for the very youngest reader.
The Treasure is a 1980 Caldecott Honor Book and a 1979 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year.
About the Author
Uri Shulevitz is a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator and author. He has written and illustrated many celebrated children's books, including the Caldecott Medal-winner The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, written by Arthur Ransome. He has also earned three Caldecott Honors, for The Treasure, Snow, and How I Learned Geography.
Reading Group Guide
Author/illustrator Uri Shulevitz spent the early years of his life, from the age of four, wandering with his family, in search of a home. From war-torn Warsaw, Poland to the Central Asian city of
Turkestan in the Soviet Union to Paris, France to Tel Aviv, Israel, and finally to his permanent home in New York City.
Likewise, many of the characters in his books travel too. The Fool of the World sets off in search of a flying ship. The young boy in How I Learned Geography uses a map and his imagination to travel the world. Benjamin of Tudela journeys for fourteen years to the far reaches of the known world and back again to Spain. In The Treasure, Isaac travels great distances to the Royal Palace in search of a treasure that he finally finds under his own stove. And the young hero of When I Wore My
Sailor Suit sets off on an imaginary journey to distant lands as the captain of a sailing ship on both calm and storm tossed seas.
Opportunities abound for social studies curriculum connections as well as language arts (reading,
writing, and research) and visual art connections. Invite your students to join you on a journey of fun, learning, and imagination!
LANGUAGE ARTS: Reading Literacy
To Tell a Tale: To Learn a Lesson
Both The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship and The Treasure are retellings of well-known tales. Introduce or revisit the concept of folklore, particularly folktales and fairy tales. Then,
introduce students to The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship as a Russian fairy tale retold by
Arthur Ransome in Old Peter's Russian Tales and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz and The Treasure as a traditional English folktale, retold and illustrated by Shulevitz.
Read both books aloud to students and engage them in a discussion of the similarities and differences in the plots of the two stories. Record their responses on a Venn diagram. Ensure that students notice the shared theme of travel to the royal palace by a poor fellow in search of a "prize."
Remind students that folktales and fairy tales often aim to teach a moral or "lesson." Conclude your discussion by asking students to formulate the moral of each story.
Extension: Read aloud other folk and fairy tales and challenge students to distill and state the moral of each story. [Note: Fables are a kind of folktale that have readily apparent morals. Consider starting this activity by sharing and discussing Aesop's Fables, selected and illustrated by Michael
One Artist, Two Styles
Uri Shulevitz won a Caldecott Medal for The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship in 1968 and a
Caldecott Honor citation for The Treasure in 1978. Begin by introducing or reviewing the purpose and criteria for the Randolph Caldecott Medal given annually by the Association for Library
Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the "artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children."
Next, read both books aloud to children. Then, invite them to comment on the illustrations in the books and the things that they enjoy about each. Discuss the similarities and differences they notice in the illustrations, focusing not only on the style of the illustrations but such design elements as single versus double-page spreads, framed versus full bleed illustrations, and visual perspectives.
Invite students to choose the style most appealing to them and create a piece of artwork, possibly using watercolor, that imitates the Shulevitz style they have chosen. Display related student work beneath a photocopy of the illustration from the first page of each book.