Masquerade: Armchair treasure hunt

front dust jacket of Masquerade by Kit Williams mixes vintage English country scene with fantastic imaginary tree covered with flowers.
Cover illustration by the author

Masquerade, a fantasy by author-illustrator Kit Williams, has talking animals, squeaky-clean peasants, and a treasure for the first reader able to solve its mystery.

Moon having fallen in love with the Sun, makes him a necklace as a token of her affection and sends Jack Hare to deliver it.

After adventures through earth, air, fire and water—and a series of riddles—Jack reaches the Sun only to realize the necklace is missing.

Readers are asked to figure out from the text and pictures where Jack lost the necklace.

According to the dust jacket, Williams made an 18-carat gold jewel and buried it in Britain in a ceramic container inscribed:

“I am the Keeper of the Jewel of
which lies waiting safe inside me
for you or Eternity.”

Although Masquerade looks like a children’s book and is classified as juvenile fiction in libraries, it isn’t appropriate for children and there’s not enough story for adults.

Masquerade‘s attraction is clearly the gold jewel.

18-carat gold jewel made by Kit Williams
The prize for the lucky winner

The picture book and buried jewel inspired a genre known as armchair treasure hunts.

For novel readers, story of the scandal around the first person to claim the treasure is more entertaining than Masquerade.

Masquerade by Kit Williams
Schocken Books, 1st American ed. 1980, ©1979.
1981 bestseller #5. My grade: C-

©2019 Linda G. Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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