Templar Publishing, £12.99, ISBN 978-1-84877-197-1
Treasure: Fortunes Lost and Found is actually a primer in archeology with some legends of supposedly long-lost treasures tossed in to lure young readers into hoping for some vicarious Indiana Jones-style read here. While treasure hunting is a rather polarizing topic in archeology, usually because the treasures recovered often end up in the hands of private collectors instead of national museums, the allure of hunting and finding treasures, thus enriching oneself in the process, is pretty hard to resist, no?
It starts out covering some basic information on various aspects of precious treasures – what a “precious treasure” is usually defined as, how treasures get to be buried and later recovered, and how people look for buried treasures using GPS, metal detector, and such. Also in the kitchen sink are the spotlight of famous treasure hunters in the past, the various treasures left behind by older civilizations (including those in Tutankhamen’s tomb), pirates and their treasures, and more. Basically, if there’s anything remotely associated with treasure, chances are it’s in here somewhere. Rounding things off is a short comic booklet with a silly fictitious story of how a piece of gold causes so much misery and even death throughout the centuries.
Treasures: Fortunes Lost and Found has many illustrations to complement its ready easy to read little walls of text, but I personally find the digital artwork to be on the cheesy and even ugly side. Most of the people depicted here look like mannequins from a Poser Pro nightmare. There is also something about the color combinations used on every page that makes the illustrations feel flat and somewhat drab to me. There isn’t much here to make me feel that I need to keep turning the pages, and the unappealing illustrations have much to do with this.
Still, the information here is pretty decent, if rather all over the place, and perhaps the younger kids reading this would be less picky about the quality of the illustrations. I can only hope.