Rather than read a "normal" children's story, why not share one that teaches important lessons about the Christian life? If you feel that way, Unexpected Treasures is an excellent choice.
This book brought back many memories. When I was young, I had two friends who liked to pretend that they were pirates. These boys came from a broken home and rarely saw their father. They were extremely sad and became aggressive with other people. Their idea of playing pirates was to see how many bad things they could do without any adults catching on. Outnumbered two-to-one, I often walked home alone to avoid participating in some reprehensible act.
When I saw that this book was about playing at being pirates, I wondered how in the world that could be a positive theme for a children's book. Was I pleasantly surprised by the story!
Victoria Osteen introduces what might be a brother and sister, Jon and Sue, who run into two boys, Captain Curly Beard and Pirate Fred, who are focused on gathering treasure. Jon and Sue provide examples of kindly and Godly living that soften the hearts of Curly Beard and Fred. I was impressed by the model that's expressed of how loving relationships can be conducted among children.
Curly Beard's and Fred's pirate ship has hit some rocks and is sinking. Jon and Sue head off to the rescue. "Let's sail there on the double!"
Curly Beard asks for help and Jon replies, "Just leave your ship behind. C'mon and climb aboard with us. We promise to be kind."
Because Curly Beard and Fred are sad about losing the treasure, Jon soothes with this advice, "It will all be okay. Sometimes bad things can lead to good. God always makes a way." Sue offers, "We're sorry that you lost your gold, but you found us. You've made two lifelong friends today--I'm one and Jon is too!"
Jon and Sue then act as friends, encouraging Fred about a mistake he made that caused the ship to sink. Curly Beard forgives Fred after that.
At lunch, Jon and Sue generously share their food. Curly Beard decides he wants to be their friend. To cheer up Curly Beard, Sue gives him a necklace of friendship shells. Curly Beard gives Sue the treasure map and reports that giving makes him feel good. Jon encourages Curly Beard to show his love.
With the help of Jon and Sue, the search for treasure continues. Jon and Sue encourage perseverance. After the treasure is found, Curly Beard offers to share.
Sue explains to the boys, "This treasure is quite nice . . . . You've lots of precious gems. But true peace and true happiness are only found in Him." Jon and Sue reassure the boys that God loves all boys and girls, even pirates!
The children find the pirate ship and fix its hole by cooperating with one another. When the boys leave, Jon and Sue give them a treasure map in return that encourages them to trust the Lord, be a good friend, be kind, stay positive when setbacks occur, persevere until you succeed, and stay on course towards God-given purposes. Now what could be a nicer treasure map than that?
The book ends with some questions that children can answer to apply the story to their own lives and understanding.
A final note from Ms. Osteen offers these observations:
"You are God's special treasure full of gifts and talents. As you journey through life, He will direct your course and keep you strong and steady. He has put inside of you everything you need to accomplish great things, and to lead and help others along the way. Remember, your anchor thoughts will keep you on course and make you a mighty force!"
The text is done in a friendly rhyming scheme that makes the information seem unusually pleasant and fun.
The illustrations are outstanding and provide a fairy tale air while keeping a touch of reality at the same time.
Brava, Ms. Osteen!
on January 23, 2009
This is a wonderful, well-written, beautifully illustrated, understandable book for girls and boys! My 5 year old daughter really enjoys it. She is always excited to read it. It is a GREAT book that teaches of God's love and how He helps us live our lives in the RIGHT way. God Bless!
on July 18, 2015
This rates up there with one of the worst pieces of writing ever. The attempt at poetry--and in particular iambic pentameter--fails miserably. Much of the book does not rhyme, but the attempts are made obvious enough that you can tell that was the point. It is horrible to read aloud.
The storyline attempts to address too many topics. It is too long, and boring. More time should be spent developing one (or even two) main points.
Luckily, the illustrations were beautiful, so my non-reader can still enjoy it as a picture book. I hope he never asks me to read it to him again. This will go in the giveaway box.