________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 9. . . .October 30, 2015


Oak Island and the Search for Buried Treasure.

Joann Hamilton-Barry.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2015.
82 pp., trade pbk., $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-77108-342-3.

Subject Headings:
Oak Island (Lunenburg, N.S.)-Juvenile literature.
Treasure troves-Nova Scotia-Oak Island (Lunenburg, N.S.)-History-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

***½ /4


Many adventurers have lost their entire fortunes searching for treasure on Oak Island. Some have spent fifty years or more digging and have only some odd stones or a few old coins to show for a lifetime of work. Even so, the lure of buried treasure and the hope of finding an immense fortune have kept people hunting for more than two hundred years. But all of this digging has taken a toll of the island. Many people feel that it is time to stop all work so that Oak Island’s natural beauty will be preserved for future generations.


What child has not dreamed of finding and then digging up a buried treasure, especially one that might have been hidden by pirates? The mystery of the “treasure pit” on Oak Island in Mahone Bay, NS, has been challenging would-be treasure seekers since the summer of 1795, and, while there have been many adult books on the subject, Joann Hamilton-Barry’s Oak Island and the Search for Buried Treasure now makes the story more accessible to a younger audience.

     Hamilton-Barry, a librarian in New Brunswick, organizes her content into four chapters which are bookended by an introduction, “Lure of Buried Treasure”, and a conclusion, “Plunder or Profit”. In the opening chapter, “Treasure Theories”, Hamilton-Barry offers “some of the most common theories about where the Oak Island treasure may have come from.” Readers may be surprised to learn that some people think the pit, with its booby traps and flood tunnels, might include the crown jewels of France or even the original handwritten copies of William Shakespeare’s plays preserved in mercury. However, the most romantic theory is that the pit contains pirate booty, and, in the second chapter, “Pirate Gold”, Hamilton-Barry identifies four pirates who could have possibly been the source of such plunder. Chapter 3, “Searching for Treasure”, highlights the major “corporate” attempts that began in 1804 and that continued through 1909 to wrest the treasure from the pit. The final chapter, “Adventurers”, deals with a number of individuals who have sought, and some who are still seeking, to discover the pit’s contents.

     End material includes: a three-page “Oak Island Timeline”; a 22 item “Glossary” defining words that had appeared in the main text in yellow print; “Recommended Reading” that references 14 nonfiction titles, five juvenile novels and five websites; and a three-page index.

     Oak Island and the Search for Buried Treasure employs a large font and is most generously illustrated with black & white and full-colour illustrations as well as many text boxes whose contents supplement the main text. While the book’s enticing subject matter should appeal to a wide audience, because of its open, visual appeal and large text font, the book may be especially attractive to male reluctant readers.

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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