Who has never dreamed of finding buried treasure? When the summer of 1966 started it was the last thing the 13-year-old Lyza would have dreamt possible. But, in fact, that’s how she spent most days—and nights–of her summer vacation.
At the end of the school year, things on Lyza’s homefront looked pretty bleak. Her mother had moved out and “disappeared.” Her father was working extra jobs and was never home and her older sister, Denise, what with her fixation on Janis Joplin, women’s rights and protesting the war in Vietnam, well, don’t even go there. Then, the final blow came with the sudden death of her beloved Gramps—a lover of all things nautical– who left Lyza with an empty place in her heart and a BIG SECRET.
Feeling abandoned by her family, Lyza knows she’s lucky to have the support of her two best friends, Malcolm and Carolann. Like the small boats Gramps loved to sail, they pull together to weather the storms of racial tension, family stress, the effects of the Vietnam war on their small New Jersey town and, most importantly, how to hide a very big hole that just might contain a chest buried long ago by none other than the infamous Captain Kidd, himself. Is it the real thing, diamonds, rubies and gold coins? Or is it a false lead, nothing but a hunk of rusting iron? The metal detector Gramps left as a part of a mystery package for Lyza says there’s definitely something down at the bottom of the hole. Doubloons or no doubloons, in the end Lyza learns that family and friends are the real treasure.
Bryant has chosen to tell Lyza’s story in free verse which makes for interesting reading. Some of the poems are four pages long while others are four lines. The poetic form allows Bryant to emphasize words and phrases which enhance the reading without bogging it down. Poetry rather than prose also allows Bryant to weave the strain within Lyza’s family and community with the action, adventure and excitement of the treasure hunt into a readable, satisfying story which like the separate pieces of glass in Lyza’s kaleidoscope fall together into a surprising, wonderful image.
Posted by: Eileen