July 08, 2021

Hidden Treasure

Written and illustrated by Elly MacKay
Running Press Kids
32 pp.
Ages 4-8
June 2021
There's magic here. It's the magic of Elly MacKay's artwork but it's also in a child's wonder of discovery, finding treasure which most would overlook and appreciating a day of togetherness. It's in a lazy summer day on a beach and we're invited to watch.
From Hidden Treasure by Elly MacKay
A child and her Papa stroll down to the bay with their dog, past stores that claim to sell treasures, though she knows better.  She knows what true treasures are, and it's not the stuff sold in stores or the kind lauded by pirates in movies.

From Hidden Treasure by Elly MacKay
She finds treasure in the beach stones that are different with each visit. This day she picks up one that looks like a whale tooth, a perfect match for the whale she envisions in the clouds.

Dipping into the water, she discovers more treasure including shells, a speckled rock, a bubble wand, a rusty key and a marble, all which she lays out on the dock for her dog to see. Some she will return to the water to revisit another day and some treasures she will admire from afar, like the cocoon on the swamp milkweed.
From Hidden Treasure by Elly MacKay
Deciding what she will choose to add to her treasure box–“ones I can borrow, keep for a while”–is an important part of the process and one she shares with her Papa.
When I’m here, I feel like a queen.
So I think I know what treasure means.
And she knows that treasure goes beyond the things she picks up or sees on their outing.

From her debut picture book, If You Hold a Seed, Elly MacKay has been wowing young readers and their teachers, school and home, with her expressive illustrations. Because she blends drawings with ink and cut paper into scenes which she photographs–her Twitter handle is appropriately @theatercloudsElly MacKay melds layer upon layer of colour and texture and shape into an evocative landscapes of life and setting. The water produced from iridescent wrapping paper shimmers with movement and warmth and the beach radiates summer heat and softness with natural quiet. There's connection between people and with place but there is solitude as well. This is treasure in itself, as the child recognizes. 
I suspect that there will be, as there always have been, children collecting hidden treasures from walks in forests, along beaches and in urban settings on this very day. They will see the extraordinary in the ordinary. With Hidden Treasure and her ethereal artwork of theatre, Elly MacKay has reminded us all of the magic that comes from the ordinary and to see the treasure that is too often missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment