But Wait, There’s More. Will the Real #61 Please Stand Up?
You read a blogger, you deal with that blogger’s quirks. Like, just as a random example off the top of my head, the fact that one might be utterly incompetent at tallying numbers in a straightforward fashion. As I proceeded to count down the Top 100 I discovered a monumental error. Somewhere between #60 and #62 I had failed to give a certain title a number. That means that my hitherto unblemished Top 100 Picture Book Poll contained not 100 picture books but a ghastly 101.
What to do?
I could evict #100. The problem? I don’t know the exact number of sins that lie heavy on my soul, but I’m fairly certain that if I tossed off More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams, that would be more than enough just cause for a long-term stay in Old Nick’s Home of Scorchin’ Hot Times. The solution? Well it’s my list, right? We’re making it 101.
So what was #61? A lot of speculation was made on that subject after I announced its existence. Some people thought it would be one of the books predicted to be in the Top 10. It wasn’t. Not a single person thought this book could crack the Top 10. Odder still, it’s a recent title. Just came out in 2005. It’s by a transplanted Brit who now resides in the States. And the author/illustrator did not make it onto the Top 100 in any other way, shape or form.
Give up? Meet your new title:
#61: Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers (2005)
22 points, 4 votes (#2, #4, #6, #10)
I picked it up and read it in a bookstore about 2 years ago and I still can’t walk past it without reading it. – Rebecca Bartlett
I regret that I never actually reviewed this book when it first came out. Since its release, however, I have mentioned that I consider this a quintessential Jeffers work. It has marvelous illustrations paired with a story that knocks you hard in the heart.
The plot from the publisher reads: "What is a boy to do when a lost penguin shows up at his door? Find out where it comes from, of course, and return it. But the journey to the South Pole is long and difficult in the boy’s rowboat. There are storms to brave and deep, dark nights.To pass the time, the boy tells the penguin stories. Finally, they arrive. Yet instead of being happy, both are sad. That’s when the boy realizes: The penguin hadn’t been lost, it had merely been lonely!"
In an interview with The Guardian, we get a glimpse of Jeffers’ influences. "An important influence on his work was The Bad-Tempered Ladybird, which he had as a child. ‘Eric Carle manages so eloquently to convey a sense of scale.’ Jeffers does that himself in Lost and Found, with a vast ship, so big that you hardly notice it, a lighthouse, a small boy and a penguin all together on one page." All that aside, I’m just going to pause for a moment here and giggle a little over the fact that The Grouchy Ladybug was renamed The Bad-Tempered Ladybird in Britain. And now I’m a little sad that it wasn’t the original title here in the States. I just told this to my husband. His response: "Did they also have a book called The Very Peckish Caterpillar?"
The book has since been turned into a simply perfect short film. Here’s the trailer.
School Library Journal said of it, "The text’s subtle humor and the appealing visuals make this title a wonderful read-aloud."
Kirkus said (somewhat bafflingly), "Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this-slightly-less offbeat friendship tale."
From Publishers Weekly, "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."
Booklist said, "A sense of restraint underlies the illustrations, from the spare use of color to the isolation of the individual characters on the page. With clean lines and varied compositions, the watercolor paintings tell the story with a minimum of fuss but no lack of feeling. But unlike characters in the soppier sort of picture books on friendship, the boy and the penguin don’t gush; they just quietly enjoy being together. With a succinct narrative text and a series of expressive illustrations, this is a fine choice for reading aloud."
Previous Top 100 Picture Book Posts include:
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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