Few books touched my heart growing up as much as Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John, and I wanted to share that childhood favorite with my girls. Last year, we read Heidi aloud together. I had confused the two books since both stories take place in the Swiss Alps. While Heidi was a lovely story and shares many of the same themes, I found myself underwhealmed. I had expected the emotional punch I had remembered from Treasures as a child. And when we finally picked up Treasures of the Snow, it was every bit as touching as I remembered.
Treasures of the Snow features the story of two children who become enemies and shows how each of their stories is redeemed. Annette loves her baby brother Dani more than anything. And even though her mother died in childbirth, Annette feels secure and loved by her father and grandmother.
Her neighbor Lucien is rather the opposite. Fatherless and feeling unloved, Lucien teases Dani by holding his kitten over a ravine. When he accidentally drops the kitten and Dani tumbles over the edge after her, Lucien is sure Dani is dead. He tries to hide from the consequences of his actions, but of course the truth comes out. Dani is crippled. And now everyone in the village Lucien despises, especially by Annette.
When Annette takes revenge instead of showing forgiveness, she experiences the guilt and regret Lucien has suffered. Only the love of God and another near tragedy can bring them together, allowing everyone to find healing.
What I Loved
- Read-aloud-ability–Some books read aloud better than others, and this one just rolls off the tongue. St. John’s descriptions of nature are especially poignant.
- God’s call through nature–Many of the most beautiful passages in this story of nature. And often, the character’s sense God’s call through nature as an invitation they choose to either accept or reject. I love the way this rings true to personal experience.
- Redemption–Stories of redemption are my favorite, but what’s especially wonderful about Treasures of the Snow is that both characters are in need of redemption and forgiveness.
Parents Should Know
Unless you don’t like books where characters speak openly about religion or don’t like books that make you cry, I can’t think of anything negative to warn you about. Treasures of the Snow works beautifully as a read-aloud. But if you are anything like me, prepare to read through tears.