Skip to main content

How to Find Gold by Viviane Schwarz

A seemingly familiar story of a pair of friends searching for buried treasure is anything but in the marvelously imaginative hands of Viviane Schwarz! How to Find Gold is the perfect pairing of text and illustrations and Anna and Crocodile are the perfectly paired friends who make this book even more delicious. 

How to Find Gold begins with Anna saying to her pal, "Let's find gold," to which Crocodile responds, "That would be dangerous and difficult." This suits Anna just fine. The planning stages are seriously hilarious. Anna and Crocodile take themselves and their quest very seriously, but their logic will have you smiling, if not flat out laughing, as you read. They practice making a "secret face" so that no one will know what they are planning and get to the gold before them. They practice carrying heavy things (in this case, Anna hoists Crocodile onto her shoulders because gold probably is not heavier than a crocodile) and they draw maps. Lots and lots of maps. They also take into consideration Crocodile's point that, "Not all gold is buried. There is also sunken gold."

Crocodile explains this with a drawing and then they find all the things from the drawing so that they can dive for gold. Admitting that finding sunken gold is a challenge, the pair decide to search the spot where "the sea is boiling and the clouds are like a tower and the fish are in the air." The imagination of Anna and Crocodile is endless!

As the pair dive for the treasure the illustrations changes. Where Anna, in her red dress, and Crocodile with his bright green skin, had been the main pops of color on the page, Schwarz begins to fill the pages with color and mixed media, making for bright, swirling, spreads that you feel like you could dive into yourself. 

Upon finding gold, the two quickly decide that it would be better not to spend it. Instead, they draw a map and bury it. Their map is so good that they decide to bury it with the treasure! Back at home, Anna tells Crocodile that he can stop making his secret face. He lets her know that this is actually his happy face, but they look similar. The congratulate themselves on finding gold, even when it was dangerous and difficult. Hand in hand, they head off, clearly to their next adventure.

Apologies for telling the whole plot of How to Find Gold, but it is just so completely charming that it was hard not to. I have been a longtime fan of Schwarz's work and a new book from her is always cause for celebration! I hope you will explore her other books by clicking here or by clicking on the titles below.

More books by Viviane Schwarz 
(and sometimes Alexis Deacon)

(a graphic novel)

Cheese Belongs to You!, written by Alexis Deacon

A Place to Call Home, written by Alexis Deacon

Source: Review Copy, but I totally would have bought this book...


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…