cover image Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Oliver Jeffers, . . Philomel, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24503-9

This beguiling tale featuring the round-headed lad from Jeffers's debut book, How to Catch a Star , begins, "Once there was a boy who found a penguin at his door." Enticing, spare text and watercolor pictures follow the earnest, red-and-white-striped shirt clad child's quest to help the sad-looking penguin find its way home. He checks with the Lost and Found Office ("But no one was missing a penguin") and futilely asks some birds and the rubber duck that shares his bath for guidance before reading (in a book drolly entitled Where Penguins Come From ) that his new friend hails from the South Pole. After making sure their rowboat is ship-shape, the two set out to sea, the child rowing south while telling stories to the rapt penguin, sitting in the bow, endearingly holding a striped umbrella over its head when the weather turns stormy. The prose reflects the hero's sudden sadness after he sees the bird home (there "was no point telling stories now because there was no one to listen except the wind and the waves"). Youngsters will cheer the pals' inevitable reunion and will likely request an immediate rereading of this gently humorous and heartwarming tale of friendship found, lost and regained. Ages 4-up. (Jan.)