Post number thirty-three is for E. Nesbit’s The Story of the Treasure Seekers, which was another assigned reading for my History of Children’s Literature course. I’m going to do like I did with my post for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and post my reading response journal instead of creating a new entry. Spoilers follow, although they’re pretty small.
I found The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit to be a really delightful book. There were so many entertaining and fun elements to the story that I didn’t want to stop reading, and nearly read it in one go. I loved the children, and the trouble they found themselves in. I liked the way they tried to solve their problems; this is a story about pure perseverance for sure!
There were so many laugh-out-loud moments for me as I was reading: the kidnapping of Albert-next-door, the dinner with the “poor Indian,” using their dog to create mortal peril, and the fact that Albert-next-door’s uncle had to keep bailing them out of trouble. The children each had something likeable about them, and while Oswald didn’t want to give away the fact that he was the narrator, I’m afraid it was quite obvious from the first. :)
One thing that threw me each time it happened, though, was the changing tenses, when Oswald would go from referring to himself in third person to first person. (I am sure this was done because he was a young narrator, and it was a device used to show this, but I still found it strange.) Typically speaking, I tend to not like books/stories written in first person; I don’t know why exactly, but I have just never much cared for them. I have heard others say the same, so it’s definitely just a preference thing. I think the fact that it happened several times throughout the book – and the fact that I don’t tend to like first-person point of views – made it more jarring for me than it possibly would for others, but that’s hard to say.
The version of the story that I read was a reprint of the original, which can be found here. The illustrations threw me slightly as well, because many times there would only be five children pictured in them; I am not sure if this was a mistake by the illustrators or what, but I stopped to count the kids each time they were in the picture, and was disappointed that there was always one missing. The front cover has all six shown (along with Albert-next-door, right before he got buried by the dirt in the garden), but most of the illustrations inside the book do not. I would have thought that this was something editors/publishers would have checked prior to printing the book, but I suppose it wasn’t considered terribly important. Still, it would have been nice if the pictures really had reflected the story completely.
Illustrations aside, I found the story charming and very fun to read. I had never heard of it before this class, so am glad it was on the required reading list. Otherwise I most likely would have missed it completely.