cover image Lucy Anna and the Finders

Lucy Anna and the Finders

Sarah Hayes. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1200-9

Despite sprightly illustrations, Hayes's (This Is the Bear) slight story about ""Finders"" is not itself a keeper. The book looks bright, with action-filled compositions in arresting colors. But the dynamic world of the art dims when joined with the bland text. Lucy Anna, off searching for her lost little red horse, stumbles on a pair of Finders--big, striped creatures that tell her, ""We're hungry. We're going to eat you up."" The girl stalls by interesting them first in a game of ninepins and then in other diversions. She and her horse finally escape when she suggests that they play hide-and-seek, and the foolish Finders go ""on hiding and hiding. And no one ever [finds] them."" With their elephant toes, anteater noses and ponytail topknots, the Finders are more goofy than menacing, but they are not believable even within the bounds of the story's imagined world. Insufficiently developed, Lucy Anna and her plight do not engage readers' emotions. Ages 5-7. (Nov.)