About the Book:
Bear loves his red scarf, but when he goes for a walk in the woods, the scarf becomes lost. The scarf is found by one animal after another, then lost again until...all the animals find the scarf at once! They all love that red scarf so much, they begin to fight over it, leaving the scarf unraveled and ruined. Bear comes upon the scene and sadly carries the yarn home with the animals helping. Will the scarf ever be whole again? Will the animals discover a way to share it, together?
aka A Frenzy in the Forest
Sometimes you feel as if your life is unraveling. I’ve had a year like that. Stitch by stitch, the life I’d knitted together seemed to be falling apart. From a move to a strange new place to health challenges to finances, I felt like the red scarf in Lost. Found., strewn across the ground. Some days I felt as if my life could never be knitted back together again. Over and over I had to tell myself that a new life, a better life, was possible. Over and over I had to assure myself that nothing is ever lost and there are always new things to be found.
In Lost. Found. Bear was so happy with his new red scarf, so proud. You may not know this from reading the book, but, you see, I know the story that happened before the book begins. When his precious scarf was lost, think how Bear must have felt. Devastated. Alone. Sad. And when he finally finds his scarf it’s not the same at all. It will never be the same. But maybe, in a way, it can be better.
What can we do when things become unraveled? Two things. We can stop and then we can move on. Stop and take a deep breath. Sit down, close our eyes, and be still. Then calmly move on, with perseverance and patience.
That’s what happens in Lost. Found. The animals stop. They take in the situation, considering what they have done. Then they move on, Bear in the lead, to do what needs doing.
In the musical of The Secret Garden, the gardener Ben, Mary, and Dickon visit a long-neglected garden, which, in a way, has become unraveled. “It’s a Maze,” they sing, and the lyrics include, “Getting lost is how you learn.” This is often true. The red scarf was lost, neglected, unraveled, but by getting lost, much was learned and much was found.
That’s five paragraphs of pretty serious stuff and there are definitely meaningful themes in Lost. Found., like creativity, conflict resolution, recycling, losing things, and community. But mostly the story is a fun romp that I hope will elicit lots of giggles from readers.
Lost. Found. consists of only eighteen words. Two words repeated, nine times each. The story is told mostly through the talented Matthew Cordell’s illustrations. The animals build on the story through their different creative uses of the scarf. Oh, the spontaneous delight the creatures experience as they discover multiple ways to use a red scarf. What imaginative forest folk! I look forward to leading Writing Funshops in schools where students brainstorm other ways to use a red scarf.
One of the ways I envision is to “cast on” (knitting term, as well as fishing term, sailing term and more), at one school and knit a bit, then continue knitting the red scarf from school to school until we connect the whole world as one big community of cooperation and contentment. We may get lost, we may become unraveled from time to time, but if we’re calm and steady, we can find ourselves again in a circle of friendship, surrounded by a cozy red scarf. Get your knitting needles ready, everyone!
About the Author: Marsha Diane Arnold is the award-winning author of books ranging from Heart of a Tiger to Quick, Quack, Quick to Roar of a Snore. Lost. Found., a Junior Library Guild Selection with two starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and School Library Journal, is her twelfth book.
Marsha has become unraveled in her home state of Kansas, in California where she lived for over forty years, and now in Florida near her daughter and family. But she’s sure she can always knit herself back together again.
Lost. Found. Teacher’s Guide will soon be available on Marsha’s website, www.marshadianearnold.com, under Fun Activities. Meanwhile, you may contact Marsha at http://www.marshadianearnold.com/write-marsha and she’ll send it directly to you.