Thursday, February 21, 2019

Better to Have Loved and Lost...: Found by Jeff Newman and Larry Day

In the frontispiece pages, a young girl looks down from her apartment's rain-spattered window and spots a little shaggy brown puppy wandering in the rain in the dark alley below.

She fetches him inside and up the stairs to her room, where a bulletin board shows a poster of a big black and white dog.


From a basket under her bed the girl pulls out a dog dish which says PRUDENCE and plaid-cushioned dog bed and empties a bag of dog food into the dish for the puppy. When she returns from brushing her teeth, she sees that the puppy has pulled out Prudence's red ball and leash.

It's a sad moment that reminds her of her lost dog, but the girl climbs into bed. The puppy persists until he finally climbs into bed and sleeps with her.

The next day is a getting-to-know-you day as the new dog and girl play together, and soon she visits the pet store for a new collar and toy for her new dog. But on a pole outside the store she sees a lost dog poster with tear-off phone numbers.


Return to 207 South Melvin

The dog she has found is surely the lost Roscoe. What should she do? That night she hugs Roscoe through the night, but the next day she takes him to 207 South Melvin and returns him to an overjoyed boy.

Doing the right thing is hard, but on the way home she passes the animal shelter where a lonely bulldog's eyes meet hers. He puts his paw up to the glass as their eyes meet. Is her heart big enough for yet another dog?

"It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all," says the old saw, and a happy ending is hinted at in the closing endpapers of Jeff Newman's and Larry Day's lovely little wordless story of lost and found dogs, Found (Simon and Schuster, 2018). Larry Day's illustrations are striking, done in pen and ink outlines with color added only where it helps to tell the story, in the girl's red raincoat and boots, Prudence's old red ball and Roscoe's new blue one, the brown storefront shelter and the brown and white bulldog inside as girl and dog reach out to the window together. This time it's a happy ending for both children and both dogs, one that quietly says a lot about love and loss. A beautiful story and beautiful book. "A story that will break hearts so it can put them back together," says Kirkus, in their starred review.

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