Lost. Found.

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Lost. Found. Book Poster Image
Touching, funny takedown of "finders, keepers" is a gem.

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age 18+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Amusing examples of perspective and viewpoint; each animal that encounters the wayward scarf feels entitled to claim ownership.

Positive Messages

What's "found" to you may be "lost" to someone else. Take care with how you handle other people's possessions. If you've caused harm to someone, do what you can to make it right.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The bear is sad to find his scarf ruined, but he doesn't appear angry. The animals who unraveled it help put it back together and find friendship.

Violence & Scariness

Two raccoons play tug-of-war with the scarf, squirrels harass chipmunks to take the scarf, and all the animals pounce on the found scarf and ruin it.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lost. Found., by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by Matthew Cordell (First Grade Dropout), is a deceptively simple book, with only two words of text -- "lost" and "found" -- plus a smattering of sound effects. But it's full of joy, heartbreak, and comfort expressed through lively illustrations.

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What's the story?

A bear walking through a blustery snowstorm loses his red scarf to a gust of wind. It's soon found by a pair of raccoons, who get so distracted tussling over it that they leave it behind, where it's found by a playful beaver. Soon, he, too, loses the scarf, which passes in and out of the possession of various forest dwellers before the wind blows it into a clearing. All the animals dive after it, shredding it into a tangled mess of yarn just as the bear happens upon the scene. He quietly gathers up the yarn and begins to mend his scarf. The repentant forest animals lend a hand, and the former adversaries enjoy new camaraderie as they work together.

Is it any good?

Humor and heart abound in this simple, lovely story about respecting one another. The understated text allows the artwork to shine: scribbled lines, a limited watercolor palette, and the critters' marvelously animated faces tell the story of LOST. FOUND. Young children will "tsk" at the squabbling raccoons and tricky squirrels, but it's hard to begrudge the mice their joyful trampoline-ing or the beaver's delight in dressing up with the discovered scarf. As heart-rending as it is to see the bear's silent sorrow, it's a warm pleasure to find the animals become comfortable companions by the story's end. Matthew Cordell's wonderful illustrations bring Marsha Diane Arnold's clever story to life and make it one of those very special books even very young children can explore and savor on their own.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what you can do when you find something that may have been lost. When is it OK to keep it? How can you try to find the owner?

  • Examine the expressions on the animals' faces throughout the book and talk about the feelings you see.

  • Have you ever broken or damaged something that belonged to someone else? Were you able to make it right?

Book details

Themes & Topics

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