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The Last Treasure

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  868 ratings  ·  106 reviews
For thirteen-year-old Ellsworth, family has always been just him and his dad. That's all Ellsworth thought he wanted. But then the dreams start. Dreams of houses surrounding a beautiful green square. Suddenly a letter arrives, inviting Ellsworth to a home he doesn't remember: the Square in Smith Mills, New York. A home with a hidden treasure only a child can uncover, the l ...more
Paperback, 257 pages
Published November 18th 2004 by Scholastic Book Services (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  868 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
- The Last Treasure by Janet S. Anderson

- One of the main characters is Ellsworth Smith, but his dad calls him Zee, and another main character is Jess. The two of them are distant cousins and haven't met before.

- In the story The Last Treasure by Janet S. Anderson a 13-year-old boy named Ellsworth Smith lives in a old broken down motel with his dad. He receives a letter on his 13th birthday from his distant cousin Elizebeth asking him to come home to the square where the rest of the Smith famil
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Review added 5/26!

Such an enjoyable read!!---for me. I've had a couple of students lay it aside of late, so I decided to pick it up and figure out why.
Here it is: its starts in an almost excruciatingly slow manner.
The payoff is good---old houses that beg exploring, mysterious family history, and delightfully eccentric characters. I was totally invested in the story. There are some rather sentimentally-sappy parts, but they are well-written enough to tug at heartstrings.
So, while I enjoyed it,
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
cover: well-chosen, supports the story (Scholastic ed)
front matter: Smith genealogy - intimidating; labeled copy of cover - good ref

Ellsworth (Zee)'s life takes an abrupt turn on his 13th birthday when he is called back to his family home. Would this storyline entice kids to learn about their own family history? (Although very few, if any, family stories could match this one.)

Anderson has woven a fairly complex but compelling story that kept me turning pages. I'd like to hear what kids in the ta
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
An interesting story with likable characters. 13-year-old Ellsworth comes from a long line of Smiths from Smith Mills New York, a family with secrets, resentments, history, and love. Ellsworth goes to the Square, the ancestral home of his family, to search for the last hidden treasure. As the story unfolds, we learn about the family and why they became the way they are. Working with his distant cousin Jess, Ellsworth sets out to find the treasure and unravel the mystery of the family's estrangem ...more
Susan Van Kirk
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
My nine-year-old granddaughter thought I should read The Last Treasure because she really loved it. I haven't read a child's book for some time so I tried it. It was very good, and I had a hard time putting it down. It was a mystery that contained good lessons too...the value of family, the idea that we should help each other through this life, and how courageous we can be when we have to be. Quite a good little preteen book! ...more
Dana Farmer
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though this is considered a book for young adults, I found it to be quite good. It is refreshing to find a book with a good story without all the crud that goes into most of them these days. It is a story about friends and about family and about what really matters in the end! Good book! 
June Guymon
May 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
The pace is a bit slow for today’s teen and yet I enjoyed the great characters. This could be a book for the whole family. ,
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
The Last Treasure is a very well written book and i know if is something i would have loved when i was younger also.
Brittney Tyler
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a touching story!!!!!!
Shelves: personal-library
Star Rating: 5 stars

In an effort to make my Goodreads as accurate a reflection of my reading as possible, I have been re-reading a lot of childhood books and usually gaining a respect for them as an adult that I didn’t necessarily have as a child (Maturity leads to different perspectives and appreciation.) When I was a child, I read The Last Treasure by Janet S. Anderson for the treasure-hunting/mystery aspect, but as an adult, I found that I appreciated the themes of family, home, and importanc
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: clean-reads, juvenile
What is the Smith Family treasure, anyway? 

Ellsworth has always lived with his Dad, with no contact from extended family at all, until one summer he gets a letter. He is invited to come to the Square in Smith Mills, New York, to visit his relatives. The thing is, he's been having these dreams about the Square. How can that be? He's never been there before, that he knows of. His Dad certainly doesn't want him going back. Grandpa lives there, and it would be a severe understatement to say that the
3.5 stars. I enjoyed reading The Last Treasure, but it wasn't as effortlessly charming as some other middle-grade fiction ( Gone-Away Lake comes to mind). I think this would be an excellent read-aloud book for children ages 8-12. Aspects I appreciated included family history (complete with descendant chart in the front!), the treasure hunt, and the dynamics among this inter-generational family. Anderson writes some lovely pieces of prose, especially in the prologue and in the few flashback sc ...more
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the idea of this story - treasure hunts and creative mechanism and puzzles are used to tickle the brains of the characters - as well as the readers.

The author had some difficulty using dialogue effectively throughout the story for most of the characters - characters would interact with one another, but a lot of that interaction was actually padding, and it wasn't very often when something new and vital to the story through the dialogue.

I had been hoping to see more of a superna
Ethan L
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
In this book there are 10 house and a treasure in 3 of them. A family has always wondered about these treasures but only were willing to go if they knew exactly where the treasure was. Ellsworth was written to on his 13th birthday that someone have a hint of where the treasure is. He and his 13 year old cousin goes against his parents rules by going to square where all the houses were and looking for treasures.
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jonah Senft
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is about a boy named Ellsworth, On his 13th birthday he gets a letter from his distant relative telling him his family needs his help. So he packs up his bags and goes to help his family. Elizabeth tells him the last treasure needs to be found and he is the only one who can get it.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A family favorite!
Cate McKiernan
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a nice read. A few cute little lessons learned about family as well as a playful mystery to the treasure.
James Cubby
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great read. Love treasure hunts. This one brings an entire family together.
Anna Castro
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Simple, surprisingly-enjoyable read that encourages family and forgiveness, with a mysterious treasure to boot.
Beth Bacon
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
I loved it as a student, and I loved it again as an adult!
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
There’s a wonderful back-story/family tree built into The Last Treasure that gives a very historical feel to it. It’s interesting to read about the Smith family and the Square and the three treasure houses. There’s a lot of dynamics and things going on in the novel that make it pretty fast-paced all throughout. This book really emphasizes the importance of family, and also does a good job of showing all the many family dynamics and troubles that there could possibly be in a large family such as ...more
Aug 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile
Thirteen year old Ellsworth has never had much family—he and his dad have moved around a lot—so he’s surprised when he gets a birthday card with a plea to come to Smith Mills (NY) from his aunt Elizabeth. Ellsworth’s father had left the family homestead because of a fight with his father, and resists having his son go back, but finally allows him to go. Ellsworth is needed to find the third and final treasure John Matthew Smith (family patriarch) hid many years ago. His cousin Jess joins him in ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
Thirteen year old Ellsworth has strange dreams about houses surrounding a Square, and then he receives a letter from a relative asking him to come visit because they all need his help. His withdrawn father says that he unable to return to the home of his childhood, but he allows Ellsworth to go. Once there, Ellsworth meets the family who live in the 12 houses that surround the square that were all built by an ancestor named James Matthew who had 13 children. According to family legend, he hid 3 ...more
Jennifer Heise
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Oh dear, I think I'm going to have to call this 'heartwarming.' Though perhaps a better word is "quaint," but in a cool way. It just touches a chord in me, though it may be too childish or too contrived for others.

I really enjoyed reading about this extended family and the houses in the square that the original Smith built for his family-- including the three "Treasure Houses" he built in the names of the three sons who didn't survive to adulthood, and which, when opened and explored by descenda
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was hard to get in to. It was a really slow read and I only finished it because I wanted to know what the treasure was. It was more about the Smith family and their history than a treasure. The story jumps from one scene to another without explanation. One chapter will be about Ellsworth, then there is a random chapter about something that happened years ago to one of the random family members. It was an interesting idea for a story but the author didn't keep the story flowing. I admit ...more
Amanda Thompson
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love-love-LOVE this book. Before they found the treasure, it had some really deep life lessons about family that I adore. Then, there's this quote:

'Let light and life break through.' He read it again, but it still didn't make much sense.

She laughed softly. ''Yes, I know. Silly. But just tuck it into the back of your mind for the times when life seems, well, seems to be falling apart. That's the best time for... things to open up. For all kinds of unexpected things to make their way through. No
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Cindy by: found it at the library
Shelves: blog, ya, mysteries
Ellsworth, also known as Zee, has lived with his father ever since he can remember, moving from place to place, never settling down. But on his 13th birthday, Ellsworth gets a postcard from his aunt, like always, and this time, it contains an address and an invitation. Ellsworth want to go. It's time to get a few answers about his family and why they are alone like this. So he takes his birthday money and sets off to New York.

Once he gets there, Ellsworth is surrounded by relatives he knows litt
Alba Arango
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
After getting a letter from an estranged aunt he’s never met, 13-year-old Ellsworth Smith decides to go, despite his father’s misgivings, and see the homes built by his ancestor John Matthew Smith. Once there, he discovers that only seven of the homes were ever lived in, the other three had treasures that the ancestor had “hidden” to help future generations in time of hardships. Two of the treasures have already been found, and now, as the family has been torn apart by feuds and monetary misfort ...more
Oct 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Tweens? Maybe?
Recommended to Kathryn by: Waidinthewater
Shelves: childrens-books
I was really excited about this book because it came with a good recommendation (sorry Becca) and I'm always looking for good children's books.

I know this book is intended for young adults of the junior high or maybe high school age, but to me even knowing that the writing is not that impressive. I won't give a synopsis of the plot because I'm sure others have, but I was disappointed by the development of the characters and the plot in this story. I don't feel that Anderson really did a good jo
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“SMITH TREASURE," she read softly. "It was the kids, right? That's what they were trying to say. In the house. Everywhere. The SMITH TREASURE was the kids.” 2 likes
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