08 October 2009

Red Ted and the Lost Things

by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Joel Stewart

Walker Books. Picture. Hardcover RRP $27.95

Guest Reviewer - Anastasia Gonis

Graphic novels for all ages are becoming more popular than ever. As a fan of this genre, I seek out books that are different and that speak to me through pictures; that magnify the meaning of the text through the illustrations. This is one of them.

Red Ted the bear is broken hearted when his owner Stevie, leaves him on the train. He is transported by a railway worker to the Place of Lost Things. Here countless shelves of labelled, lost things, stand and wait for someone to claim them. The Place speaks of loss, disregard, negligence and sheer desolation.

In that Place, Red Ted meets crocodile who has been there a long time but as yet hasn’t become one of the homeless oddities that simply stand and wait, blending into the colourless walls. They decide that together they will escape this forlorn place and try to find their way home.

It doesn’t take long for the opportunity to arise. But which way is home? They follow the signs towards the exits, and meet a cheese-loving cat that picks up the odour permeating from Red Ted. He helps them find their way home using the smell of the cheese that Stevie had bought as a guide. The cat gets a serve of her favourite cheese as a reward and crocodile is added to the family unit.

Excellent detailed illustrations in comic style fill the pages in muted colours that blend into one another to accent the insignificance of the Lost Things. Red Ted, crocodile and cat are the only colours that stand out until they reach home and then the background remains the same, but the characters of Stevie and her mum are brought to life in bright colour to indicate the joyous reunion. This comes highly recommended by the reviewer.

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