Another of the best known Arthur stories is the search for the Holy Grail. This week’s Ten highlights other stories which focus on the search for something lost.
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Sometimes things get lost on purpose.
Ella lives in a town founded by the creator of the famous pangram, “The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog.” When letters from the pangram start falling off the founder’s statue, the town leaders decide that any letter no longer appearing on the statue will also be removed from the town’s vocabulary.
Hopper and Wilson by Maria van Lieshout
Hopper the toy elephant and Wilson the toy mouse set off in their little boat to find the end of the world, each with his own ideas about what they’ll find there. When a storm tosses Hopper overboard, Wilson turns his attention to the much more urgent mission of rescuing his friend.
Gossie by Olivier Dunrea
A sweet story about a little goose who adores her red rubber boots, and the search that ensues when one boot goes missing.
Note: In my French copy, Gossie goes by Lola, instead.
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
What if you don’t know that you’re the one who’s lost?
The first book in a 6-part series, The Face on the Milk Carton introduces fifteen-year-old Janie Johnson, who recognises her three-year-old self in a missing child picture on her milk carton one day. But if she’s missing, who are the Johnsons? What happened twelve years ago?
I Want My Hat Back written and illustrated by Jon Klassen
A bear treks through the woods in search of his missing hat, stopping to ask, and occasionally help, other animals along the way. The illustrations are simple, and the narration deadpan — the result is hilarious.
Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things written by Cynthia Voigt and illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
Famous actors, William and Mary Starling, intended to visit a maharaja in India, but the circumstances surrounding their trip are very strange. For one thing, they’ve left their twelve-year-old son behind with nothing but a cryptic note. Max is worried about his parents, but until they return he is determined to take good care of himself. To put food on the table, Max becomes a kind of detective — a finder of lost things — with some help from his parents’ costume trunk and a library full of characters to employ as the situation warrants.
(I’m still finishing this one, but so far it’s really good! Watch for a review in October)
Lost and Found written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Once there was a boy who found a penguin, and set out in search of the penguin’s home. It turns out, though, that the penguin’s definition of home may not be the what the boy expects.
A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
In Cady’s world, everyone has a Talent. Some are amazing, many are handy, and a few are…well, just strange. Cady’s talent is for knowing the perfect cake to suit any personality. But while her talent has made a lot of people happy, it hasn’t been any help in finding a family that wants to adopt her. The novel is full of twists and turns that all come together in the end, but the theme of lost things — a recipe, a child, a famous artefact — repeats throughout.
Here I Am story by Patti Kim, illustrated by Sonia Sánchez
A little boy, wrapped up in longing for his old life across the sea, loses his favourite token from home. His journey to retrieve it takes him out into his new city, and into contact with the friendly and interesting people who live there.
After Hamelin by Bill Richardson
Penelope’s strange deafness protects her from the Pied Piper’s tune. Her gift for deep dreaming equips her to seek the children who’ve been led away from her village. Her courage, and the friends she meets along the way, allow her to bring them all home again.