Jigsaw: Mystery in the Mail

Candlewick. Jul. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536224993.
Gr 1-2–It is late autumn when the Kelly family receives a package containing a jigsaw puzzle of an African swimming hole at sunrise from an anonymous sender. The card reads, “Good luck to you all.” The Kellys (Mom, Dad, Kitty, Katie, and Lucy the dog) happily take on the challenge. Unbeknownst to them, the illustrations show that almost immediately a puzzle piece is dropped and ends up in the trash. Life is busy, but as time permits, they work on the puzzle. It is nearly the following autumn before it is almost done and they discover, “ONE PIECE IS MISSING!” Clever Mom deducts that the piece must have been thrown away. With hope in their hearts, they head to the dump to find the puzzle piece of Hippo’s swim trunks. While searching through a huge pile of paper trash, they find many things, but not the puzzle piece. Luckily, it finds them. As they head home in defeat, it sticks to the bottom of Dad’s shoe. It falls off on the kitchen floor, where Katie finds it, and together the Kellys complete their beautiful puzzle. Graham’s delightful ink and watercolor illustrations are an integral part of the story. They not only take the text to the next level with fun details and expressions, but in places deliberately and effectively replace it altogether.
VERDICT A love letter to jigsaw puzzlers young and old, and a lighthearted reflection on things lost and found. The mystery of who sent the package remains unsolved. Purchase where Graham’s books are popular.

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