Without doubt, my favorite children’s book is: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (ISBN-10: 1561034460 / ISBN-13: 978-1561034468 )
This literary classic goes far beyond the romanticized tale of being a swashbuckling, pirate vagabond on a golden adventure of chasing unearned wealth. It is a microcosm of the human experience; it contains many subtle lessons that we as individuals must face, as we navigate the course called life - an adventure, that no one is initially prepared and one in which not everyone succeeds. As G.K Chesterton previously noted, “Treasure Island is the realization of an ideal, that which is promised in its provocative and beckoning map; a vision not only of white skeletons, but also green palm trees and sapphire seas.”
The journey of the character ‘Jim Hawkins’ is akin to what everyone does individually – to figure out the person that one desires to become. Life is always about choices – one’s character and personality, career path, where to live, the people with whom we associate, the people we trust and the consequences of those imperfect decisions.
Although we regularly face harsh decisions that challenge our ideals, early on in life, we must decide the character we ultimately want. We blindly make career choices, associate with people we hardly know and jump forward on a personal quest without a script. We learn to deal with finances, housing, egos, larger than life personalities, office politics, personality clashes, human tragedy and etcetera – while attempting to enthusiastically chart our own dreams, desires and achievements. All of these topics (and more) are inherently woven into the subtext of this marvelous novel.
As everyone can tell, I’ve intentionally not taken time to write a book review. So please deactivate the ‘spoiler alert alarm’ now, for it’s not warranted here. Part of the treasure to be found today is the giving of this book as a gift to a child without explanation and letting that youngster safely explore life by enjoying this suspense-filled story. Although it is geared towards boys, little girls can also take pleasure in reading this masterpiece. It is books, such as this one, that should encourage us to embrace the pastime of reading as a pleasant learning activity and not as a mental chore.
Joseph J. Breunig 3rd
Author, Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory