Title: Captive Treasure
Author: Milly Howard
Major Themes: Indians, Native Americans, Pioneers
Synopsis: When Carrie Talbot is captured by the Indians, she uses her time with them to teach them about the Bible.
I’ve always enjoyed stories about pioneer families. Captive Treasure has a slightly different twist to it from most others I’ve read. It starts out fairly typically; the Talbot family is joining a wagon train to go west. Their reason for going, however, is not to find a new home for themselves, but to help Carrie’s uncle at a mission for the Indians. They set out and encounter the same challenges that most families face as they travel west. Every day, they read together from the big Bible that has a safe place to ride in a pocket sewn to the inside of the wagon cover. Then one day, when they are separated from the main wagon train because of sickness, Carrie finds herself kidnapped by an Indian brave! Somehow, during the melee, she ends up with the family Bible clutched in her arms and takes it with her into captivity.
During the next year, Carrie lives with the Indians and reads the Bible to them, even though they can’t understand English. She teaches her new friends what she can, and always watches for a chance to escape and get back to her family.
My opinion of Captive Treasure is that it is about too perfect to be realistic, but it is a good story for emerging readers. The vocabulary is fairly simple, and there is nothing in the story that is objectionable. At one point, it mentions a warrior performing the Sun Dance, but it doesn’t go into detail about that horrific ritual. There is just enough tension to keep the story moving without being to much for young children. I did wonder about the accuracy when Carrie’s mother mentioned having learned several Indian dialects in a year’s time!
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12