Olive, the star of our story, is a peppy, optimistic girl who one day decides to go for a walk. She walks through her city, hearing all the typical, somewhat unpleasant, city sounds. There are people yelling at each other and horns honking. If you’ve ever visited a big city, you may recall just how loud and clamorous those sounds can be. Olive continues walking when suddenly, she hears a new sound coming from an open manhole. Curious, she peeks in and finds a little old lady who is keeper of All the Lost Things.
The lost things are packed away in box after box, stacked high, each box with its own label. The boxes are filled with bus passes and laughter, thoughts and bibs, marbles and homework. The old woman explains that no one has ever come for the items and Olive is free to take whatever she likes. The little girl fills five jars with treasure. Memory for her grandfather, sense of humor for her older sister, eyesight for her dad, the way for her mom (“who could never seem to go anywhere without completely losing it”) and the last jar she fills with “a rather big, rather enormous scoop of HOPE.”
The beauty of this book begins as the illustrations transform from primarily black and white into glorious color as Olive walks through her city, bits of HOPE sprinkling from the jar.
Debut author/illustrator Kelly Canby’s (kellycanby.com) imaginative take on storytelling is truly compelling. All the Lost Things provides adults with an opportunity to talk with children about perspective and attitude, and the impact our attitudes can have on other people.
This simple, sweet story reminds me again why I love picture books so much. They epitomize childhood, and in childhood, anything can and often does happen. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were all a little bit more like Olive, and went about our day spreading things like HOPE and JOY to others?