by Edith Nesbit
Ages 9+, 122 pages
The Story of the Treasure Seekers was first published in 1899, so not many people may be familiar with this title. This is the first book in a series. Her writings had an influence on other children authors, such as C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling. (C.S. Lewis mentioned the children in the Chronicles of Naria.)
The book is about the Bastable children who lost their mother and attempt to restore their family fortunes. There are six siblings, but the book doesn’t state right from the beginning who’s telling the story. Although, if you pay attention and you’ll notice who it is. The book opens: This is the story of the different ways we looked for treasure, and I think when you have read it you will see that we were not lazy about the looking. Indeed, the children were not lazy at all, since they each provided input about ways to seek treasure. Of course being children there are bound to be mistakes and surprises. The Bastable children dug for treasure, published in a newspaper, started a business, and kidnapped. It was a peak inside the British lifestyle for children. The writing is clever and intelligent.
There are some things I must tell before I begin to tell about the treasure-seeking, because I have read books myself, and I know how beastly it is when a story begins, “Alas!” said Hildegarde with a deep sigh, “we must look our last on this ancestral home” – and then some one else says something – and you don’t know for pages and pages where the home is, or who Hildegarde is, or anything about it. Our ancestral home is in the Lewishawm Road. It is semi-detached and has a garden, not a large one. We are the Bastables. There are six of us besides Father.
– Edith Nesbit (The Story of the Treasure Seekers)