The International Writers Magazine
:Childrens' Fiction

Lost and Found’ by Oliver Jeffers
Published by Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 0007150350
RRP: £10.99

Jennifer Atkins

It’s the oldest story in the world: boy gets girl, boy loves girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Replace "girl" with "penguin" and you’ve got the basic plot of Jeffers’ latest illustrated book for children.

Relatively new to authorship, Jeffers’ is also the author of the magical ‘How to catch a star’.
Both the boy and the penguin are unnamed, making it easier for young children to identify with them, and escaping the phenomenon of infants claiming a book is about them just because they share the same name as the lead character. As with any good children’s story, the boy and the penguin are alone in the world, and, despite turning to the Lost and Found office, his bath-time rubber duck, and some real-life birds for help, it is the boy alone who must save the penguin and determine its future.
The illustrations fill the page, whether they are of the rough sea during the journey to the South Pole that took "many days and nights", or of the boy and the penguin constructing a rowing boat for their great voyage. The characters have a distinct minimalist style, but emotion is still well-represented in their faces and shown in their body language.

This story tells a simple tale of friendship and love, whilst teaching lessons about loneliness and appreciating what you have before it’s gone. The book will also help children to dream of the wider world and what life outside their families has to offer them.

If you’re still not sure that ‘Lost and Found’ should be added to your bookshelves, or taken on a visit to a younger relative, bear in mind that if you purchase it at Ottaker’s will receive a free cuddly toy penguin!

© J. Atkins is a Creative Writing student at the University of Portsmouth

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