cover image The Lost Boy

The Lost Boy

Greg Ruth. Scholastic/Graphix, $24.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-439-82332-6

Readers of Ruth’s picture books, which include A Pirate’s Guide to Recess and Red Kite, Blue Kite, are already familiar with his cinematic brand of artwork. He brings the same detail and drama to this chilling graphic novel, which spans more than 50 years. The story opens as a boy named Nate moves to a new town and discovers a tape recorder hidden underneath the floorboards of his bedroom. The action shifts back several decades as Nate listens to recordings left by Walter Pidgen, an outcast boy who disappeared without a trace. Along with a neighbor, Tabitha, Nate is drawn into a supernatural battle involving the denizens of an ancient woodland kingdom, which include talking toys and insects, monstrous wooden soldiers, and a terrifying tree creature called the Vespertine (some violent sequences may disturb younger, more timid readers). The dialogue is often drily funny (especially where Tabitha is involved), if occasionally melodramatic, but Ruth’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous artwork makes up for any narrative shortcomings. The final pages suggest that Ruth has more to say about this creepy fairy-tale world. Ages 8–12. Agent: Allen Spiegel, Allen Spiegel Fine Arts. (Sept.) ■