When Olive discovers “all the lost things” in a mysterious place beneath the city, she decides to bring back hope, memory, and humor for those above.
Alone for a walk in a busy city, young Olive hears a “peculiar sound” emanating from an open manhole. Curious, Olive climbs down to discover a little old lady who organizes “all the lost things from all over the city.” Boxes and boxes and boxes are stacked up, labeled with the expected (pencils, phones) and the unexpected (will power, appetite). Debut author/illustrator Canby’s handwritten text and playfully childlike illustrations blend together nicely. Children will enjoy the way Olive takes matters into her own hands, scooping up a jarful of memory to help her grandfather; however, young readers may have trouble understanding the intangible things that people have lost: nerve, energy, temper. When Olive brings back a jar bursting with hope, the resulting goodwill is reflected only in happy colors and speech bubbles; newly hopeful humans are nowhere to be seen—a missed opportunity to include a diverse range of characters in this otherwise all-white book. Moreover, the book doesn’t leave the realm of metaphor. Spreading hope is important, but readers are not given a sense of how they might do this themselves.
While full of warmth, this picture book unfortunately loses sight of its young audience. (Picture book. 4-8)