MTYT: Pablo Finds a Treasure

For My Take/Your Take this month, we examine four books that focus on the theme, Sense of Place. Last week, Michele and Yoo Kyung challenged the ways in which we think about place as home and instead consider how place is about where one discovers self. This week, they use the lens of sense of place to give their takes on Pablo Finds a Treasure by Andrée Poulin and Isabelle Malenfant.

Pablo Finds a Treasure

MICHELE: When I think about sense of place in terms of this story, Pablo Finds a Treasure, I think about the idea of having to make the best of a difficult situation. Pablo and his sister must spend long days at the garbage dump rummaging through others’ trash for food and clothing. While it can be seen as a desperate situation for these children, it is remarkable to see Sofia’s strength and fortitude as she persists, hoping to make something out of what others have discarded. She is practical and sees value in items that help them survive while Pablo has other kinds of hopes, such as learning to read. He is frustrated by his current situation, yet it doesn’t defeat him; he dreams of a better life.

This story provides hope. Despite having to dig through garbage in this desperate place, “Treasure Mountain,” Pablo dreams of more and is determined to have more than the life that he knows. When confronted with a stressful situation, Pablo outwits the bully, Filthy Face. Although the physical “place” in the story is a garbage dump, which is not a typical place one may expect to find a treasure, it symbolizes the idea that treasures can be found anywhere. Pablo makes the most of his situation by finding a real treasure (a gold necklace) and outsmarting the bully. It goes to show that despite places that some may perceive as a wasteland, others may find treasures and hope.

YOO KYUNG: The story starts with a typical morning description. “The sun’s first light pierces the sky… Sofia wakes her little brother up.” Sophie calls him “lazy bones” and also gives hope by saying, “We might find a treasure today.” In a quick glance, their morning appears to be a typical day for a family. Mama also tells them, “don’t forget the tortillas! Pablo, don’t forget your hook.” Mama’s reminder appears to be a common morning conversation that kids should take school supplies with them. The story unpacks in a different direction as a typical morning
transforms to a day that takes big courage and fearless hearts for going to the garbage mountains. I agree with you, Michele. This story provides hope. Hope functions as resilience for Sofia and Pablo to not be discouraged or hopeless. Dreams of reading, playing sports and tasty food are not fancy, but appear to be reasonably achievable someday. That hope allows Sofia and Pablo to face every-day fear with yesterday’s courage. Sofia and
Pablo include necessary good wish items for mama like a NEW cooking pot and a NEW dress. The good wish items signal that good family bonding includes hope, resilience and meaning of the place, despite all other things that are not pretty on the surface.

Title: Pablo Finds a Treasure
Author: Andrée Poulin
Illustrator: Isabelle Malenfant
Publisher: Annick Press
ISBN: 9781554518661
Date Published: September 13, 2016

[Editor’s Note: Pablo Finds a Treasure has been featured in WOW Currents and WOW Review.]

This is the second installment of August’s issue of My Take/Your Take. Our first post featured the book, Moonrise. Check back next week to see what books we’ve selected and to follow the conversation!

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