Sophia Discovers the Real Treasure: A Story of John Muir, Father of the National Parks
Juvenile Fiction, 45 pp
Available March 20, 2022, Trenton House Publishing, West Bend, WI
Reviewed by Lisa Lickel, www.lisalickel.com
In the latest adventure by former elementary teacher Curt Casetta, the young Sophia learns a thoughtful lesson outwardly about appreciating nature, and inwardly about respecting what’s important to others.
Sophia reluctantly accompanies her grandmother on what seems like an utterly boring lecture by some nature nut about pine trees. But Sophia’s about to go on a magical adventure of her own with a very special guide.
“Just call me Red,” says a mysterious old man who appears next to a complaining Sophia. Grandma parked her under a hundred-year-old dying pine tree, which Sophia cannot find in the least bit interesting.
But it’s not just any old pine tree, Red tells Sophia, and reminds her of its name: sequoia.
Red invites Sophia to learn about the man who wanted to save nature, John Muir, by going on a ramble to experience what Muir did when he first came to California. Best yet, Red has a mule, not a donkey, he invites Sophia to ride, and they’re going to look for treasure. The two of them explore and learn about the land before white settlers arrived. Much to Sophia’s chagrin, she learns that the white settlers not only moved in and took over lands already occupied by original native settlers, the whites didn’t treat the natives very well. Sophia is concerned as Red’s health declines during their travels.
Sophia’s revelation of the real treasure will delight readers.
As Casetta says in his author’s note, read the foreword and the afterword for additional information to interpret this tale. The book is illustrated through digitally altered photographs and vectored characterization. Although the reading level is upper second grade according to a couple of different evaluating tools, inexperienced readers will need help with harder words and the allegorical concepts. Thoughtfully annotated and including a long bibliography, Sophia Discovers the Real Treasure will surely become a favorite with the young people in your life.
Lisa Lickel writes from the peaceful rolling hills of western Wisconsin. A multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, occasional articles, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, and a freelance editor. She and her husband travel and enjoy family time.
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