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The Story of the Treasure Seekers (Nesbit) Hardcover – June 22, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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About the Author

E. Nesbit (1858-1924) lived in England and had dreamed of becoming a poet since she was fifteen years old. After her husband fell ill, it was up to her to support her small family. For the next nineteen years, she published a number of novels, essays, articles, poems, and short stories. When The Story of the Treasure Seekers was published in 1899, her groundbreaking style of depicting realistic, believable children quickly gained a popularity that has lasted for more than a century.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Series: Nesbit
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (June 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811854159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811854153
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,417,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A word about me--I am the mother of four children ages 7-17 and have always loved to read. My favorite books as a child are still a pleasure for me today, although I read them more critically now: the Narnia books (where I first read about the Bastables on the first page of "The Magician's Nephew"); "A Little Princess," "The Secret Garden," "Little Lord Fauntleroy," and "Toinette's Philip;" "Little Women," "Ivanhoe," "Tom Sawyer," "Uncle Tom's Cabin," "Hans Brinker," "Tales of King Arthur," "Scottish Chiefs," etc. After my children were born I discovered new classics: Edward Eager, "The Phantom Tollbooth," Philip Pullman, Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander, and of course Harry Potter.
The Bastable books were written for literate children of 8-14 almost a hundred years ago, and may be a little difficult for the easy-reader child of today, who thinks Harry Potter is full of hard words! It also has an "I" narrator, which many children do not like. But E. Nesbit was one of the first great children's writers, and in my opinion this is the best of all her books.
Although E. Nesbit is rightly well-known known for fantasies like "The Phoenix and the Carpet," "The Enchanted Castle," or "Five Children and It," this book is not a fantasy. The Bastables are six lively children who live in a dreary London suburb in a row house. Their mother is dead, their discouraged, rather milquetoast father has lost all his money. The children are left to their own devices, since they can no longer afford to go to school (this is the turn of the 19th century).
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Format: Paperback
Some of the cultural references in the book are obscure, but finding what they mean can be a lot of fun. Here is the context of "Let dogs delight..." It is from an old hymn to encourage children to get along with each other. Here is the text:

Song 16. Against quarrelling and fighting. (8,6,8,6)

Let dogs delight to bark and bite,

For God has made them so:

Let bears and lions growl and fight,

For `tis their nature, too.

But, children, you should never let

Such angry passions rise:

Your little hands were never made

To tear each other's eyes.

Let love through all your actions run,

And all your words be mild:

Live like the blessed Virgin's Son,

That sweet and lovely child.

His soul was gentle as a lamb;

And as his stature grew,

He grew in favour both with man,

And God his Father, too.

Now, Lord of all, he reigns above;

And from his heavenly throne

He sees what children dwell in love,

And marks them for his own.
2 Comments 45 of 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I find it odd that a book should be faulted because a reader doesn't understand all the references. For me as a child, puzzling out what phrases like "Let dogs delight" meant was fun -- even when I never did figure it out, or didn't figure it out until years later when I came upon the source. That was fun, too: to be reading something else or traveling in England and suddenly get the reference -- and think "So THAT's what she meant!"

But the references are a minor detail.

This was one of my favorite books as a child and I now think it is one of the greatest books ever written for children: funny, insightful, well-written, inspiring -- and unexpectedly moving in places, too. I still laugh out loud when I read it, and I still admire the children enormously: for their imaginations, resourcefulness, kindness to each other, loyalty, and, perhaps most of all, for their very English courage -- the way they deal with what drearier people would complain about.

Philosophically, I very much object to the idea that everything in a book should be easy to understand and known already to the readers. Surely one of the joys of reading is to be exposed to new ideas, people, places -- to learn?

Another great writer for children, PL Travers, the author of MARY POPPINS, writes about the enormous pleasure and stimulation she (as a child) derived from trying to puzzle out the meanings of phrases in adults' conversation, such as "she lived on her capital." (She phrases it better than I do here -- but she as a child imagined this aunt as a sort of ogress, nibbling on her own fingers and toes during an afternoon nap.)

It's probably true that E.Nesbit's writing is not for everyone-- but what is?
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1 Comment 27 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
The Treasure Seekers is written from the point of view of a young British boy trying along with his siblings to recover "the lost treasures of the house of Bastable."

The book is crammed with hilarity. To begin with, the speaker says that he will not give away who he is - "While the story is going on you may be trying to guess, only I bet you don't." Throughout the book, he makes little digs about his siblings, and adds things like, "Oswald often thinks of very intersting things. And directly he thought of it he did not keep it to himself, as some boys would have, but he told the others."

His writing is very straightforward and honest (if biased), like a boy. And he does not try to be funny at all. Some ironies are obvious to the reader, making us chuckle while Oswald is very serious about them.

On the whole, Oswald is very likeable and understandable and creative, as are Dora, Dicky, Alice, Noel, and H.O. They get into scrapes with their good intentions, but the ending (in Oswald's words) "is like what happens in Dickens's books; but I think it was much jollier to happen like a book."
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