In Jasper John Dooley: Lost and Found by Canadian author Carolyn Adderson, Jasper’s Grandma Nan has a surprise for her grandson, a box of old toys which belonged to his dad and his Uncle Tom. Along side some toy soldiers painted with pink nail polish and a bunch of old fashioned cars (ones that were popular back when his dad was a boy), there was his father’s favorite – an orange plastic Marcel Mouse. Wanting to emulate his parent, Jasper adopts the little toy, wearing it around his neck on a long string so he can swing it back and forth. His dad excitedly teaches him the jingle and dance from this once well-loved television cartoon. Jasper can’t wait to show his friends at school and the little mouse becomes a hit. Unfortunately, while swinging the toy about, Jasper clocks his friend Leon, so the confiscated “necklace” stays on the secretary’s desk and afterwards must remain in the nurses office until the end of the school day.
Unfortunately, Marcel gets accidentally flushed down the toilet, but Jasper’s parents use this as an opportunity to visit the library and the water treatment plant to research the Mouse’s whereabouts via the ocean currents. Marcel sends Jasper emails from Alaska (a place Nan visited in Book 2 of the series, Jasper John Dooley: Left Behind), Japan, and Australia (where his uncle lives). When Uncle Tom comes for a visit to surprise his mother on her birthday, he and his nephew take a walk in the neighborhood, stopping at a yard sale where they miraculously find another Marcel Mouse.
This is book 5 of the Jasper John Dooley series which continues tales of the life of the young, irascible Jasper and his friends and family. The book is full of details with various subplots related to the previous books in the series. The title Lost and Found refers not only to the often misplaced Marcel Mouse, but also to the Lost and Found box outside the school office where Jasper and his best friend Ori hide during a game of hide and seek and then “borrow” an electronic game they find at the bottom of the bin. While playing the forbidden game, they end up lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood until a friendly dog walker points the way back towards the school which is close to their homes. Lost and Found also refers to the Treasure Hunting game the boys devise which is more fun than playing babies with the girls (Book 3, Jasper John Dooley: Not in Love).
It won’t surprise the reader that the scampish Jasper is very familiar with the Principal’s office, but all the adults – Principal, secretary, teacher, school nurse, as well as family members – are kid friendly, helping the children find solutions to the various sticky situations which pop up throughout the series.
The reader assumes the children are in first grade since there is a student of the week and a show and tell. (Book 1: Jasper John Dooley: Star of the Week). As a chapter book, there are only a few cartoonish black and white illustrations interspersed throughout the fourteen chapters. Remaining true to the original, Mike Shiell has taken over the art work from Ben Clanton who did the drawings for books 1-4, giving the reader a graphic guide to the plot and characters in the story. The chapters are relatively short (132 pages) and most of the vocabulary is simple enough for a fairly fluent beginning reader. Whether the adventures of these young grade schoolers will engage the intended audience depends upon the age of the child when they are ready to read longer books. However, this would make a good night time serial read aloud for the younger child. Not the most exciting of stories, but there are numerous common themes relevant to children that could lead to some interesting discussions of right and wrong and the results of making bad decisions (Book 4, Jasper John Dooley: You’re in Trouble). A good example of realistic fiction for the younger set. Three stars.
Thank you to Netgalley and Kids Can Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.