cover image The Lost Lake

The Lost Lake

Allen Say. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-50933-3

A boy spends a lonely summer with his father, who is so engrossed in work he scarcely notices or talks to his son. Early one Saturday Dad wakes the boy with a surprise: they are going camping, in search of a special lake Dad had visited as a boy. When the Lost Lake is rediscovered, it is overrun with families camping and swimming; Dad is determined they will find another. Through a bleak rainstorm and dangerous bear country father and son press on, and the boy is happy to see Dad gradually become more animated and talkative. The father's dogged perseverance finally pays off: a brand-new special lake, all to themselves, to enjoy and remember. There is a sense of melancholy pervading Say's narrative, yet the story is far from depressing. The reader is drawn into the frustration felt--for different reasons--by both father and son, and rejoices with them in their final glorious discovery. The search for a childhood dream has a universal appeal, and Say's watercolors beautifully enhance both the senses of loss and discovery. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)