Treasure Beyond Measure by Helen Griffiths
Imagine this world without ‘a memory’ of elephants, ‘a crash’ of rhinos or ‘an embarrassment’ of pandas.
Inspired by Conservation Week 2017, author Helen Griffiths wrote a short rhyming poem which she went on to perform at WOMAD 2018. The response to it was so positive that she was asked if she’d consider turning it into a children’s book. Treasure Beyond Measure is the resulting book.
A dedicated website for the book is also worth a browse. My children loved listening to the author read the story, complete with animal sound effects, while turning the pages of their own copy.
It's is a fun book with a deep message. Between its pages, readers get to learn about defining qualities of collective nouns. From a clew of worms to a tower of giraffes, creatures great and small parade through the pages.
Illustrator Simon Chadwick does a stellar job of illustrating an entire safari. Bright, bold colour fills the pages, and every single animal - from a tiny cockroach to a huge elephant - is full of personality and attitude. The double spread of humans is diverse, cementing the message that we are all in this together. Chadwick also hides something within the pages that links to the deeper message of the story.
Treasure Beyond Measure has a significant point of difference from other collective noun publications. Griffiths conveys a powerful conservation message, reminding us that there's one collective group of animals that is having a massive impact on our planet.
It's not all doom and gloom, rather Griffiths encourages us to be part of humankind and be a kind human. Readers will be inspired to take action and encourage opportunities for healing.
A story with an important point of difference, Treasure Beyond Measure is a book any young reader will cherish.
Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell
Rumpus Books, RRP $20