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...