The Day We Got Lost

Little, Brown. Aug. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316541176.
PreS-Gr 2–Smudge’s family packs up the car and drives to the mountains for a picnic and a day in the great outdoors. His grandpa tells them that moss grows on the north side of trees and cautions him to stay on the trail because the paths are marked with trail markers and stones, but Smudge is a busy, playful child and moves the rocks as he frolics through the woods. He does not need markers, he claims. He is an explorer. Smudge ventures far away. It is not until he hears animals snorting and snuffling in the undergrowth that Smudge becomes afraid and realizes he is lost and alone. As fear sets in, Smudge tries to retrace his steps, but he is lucky his family is looking for him, too. When they reach each other, Mama, Grandpa, and Smudge work together to find the right path out of their predicament. Following the moss on the trees just as Grandpa taught them, they make their way back to the clearing and to where they left their car. Being lost isn’t such a bad thing after all, if they are lost together. Pray uses subtle watercolors and colored pencils to capture the beauty of the surroundings and the facial expressions of each character. Smudge is shown as a brave adventurer and a bit of a troublemaker. Baby Willa appears sweet and angelic, and Oni the dog is playful and joyous.
VERDICT An additional purchase, this is nevertheless a sweet book celebrating family, togetherness, belonging, and love.

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