CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 7. . . .October 16, 2015
Jasper and his good friend Ori have begun hunting for buried treasure at school when Jasper’s Nan comes across a real gem in one of her storage boxes – Dad’s old toy mouse from when he was a kid. Nan gives it to Jasper, and Dad teaches Jasper the song that goes with the adventurous Marcel Mouse. But it isn’t long before Jasper accidentally flushes the tiny mouse down the toilet. Jasper is inconsolable until Dad tells him a story that shows how clever and resilient Marcel has always been. Then, Mom, Dad, and Jasper visit the library. After studying a special atlas that includes ocean currents, Dad and Jasper figure that Marcel will head to Alaska, then Japan, and eventually Australia where Dad’s brother, Uncle Tom, lives. They also research how toilets work at the library. The next day, Jasper and his parents visit the sewage treatment plant to see if they can intercept Marcel Mouse before he goes out to sea, but decide they’ve missed him. Meanwhile, Mom is planning a surprise birthday party for Nan to which Uncle Tom will be coming, and Ori is captivated by a hand-held, forbidden, electronic game that flashes and ‘bleeps’ which he finds in the school’s lost-and-found box. Jasper is astonished when he receives an email from Marcel Mouse saying that he’s on a cruise ship to Alaska. While Jasper thinks that Marcel would love the cruise, he doesn’t really believe that a plastic mouse could send an email. He suspects that Mom wrote the email. Nevertheless, when he gets another one from Marcel – now on his way to Australia – Jasper replies, suggesting he come home with Uncle Tom for Nan’s party. Ori and Jasper’s friends stop playing treasure hunters and hide-and-seek at recess, preferring to sit around waiting their turn with the electronic game until a big kid catches them using it and calls Ori a thief. Uncle Tom does not bring Marcel Mouse home, but Nan’s party is a success and – serendipitously – Jasper John is reunited with Marcel Mouse.
Jasper John Dooley, Lost and Found, is the fifth in Caroline Adderson’s series of excellent read-aloud chapter books for children from kindergarten to grade two. Jasper John’s character is consistently unique and endearing. And – for those who need comic relief – Adderson is adept at adding potentially laughable elements to Jasper John’s worst moments. While Lost and Found stands on its own, readers of the series’ previous books will feel even more connected to Jasper’s realistic school life, his close friend Ori, and his parents who – while not perfect – care for Jasper with love and intelligence. The plot of Lost and Found is further enriched by reminders of incidents from other books in the series, such as Grandma’s trip on a cruise ship (from Jasper John Dooley: Left Behind) and Jasper’s turn at Show and Tell (from Jasper John Dooley: Star of the Week). While the secondary plot (Ori’s electronic game) trails off somewhat inconclusively, Jasper John Dooley, Lost and Found is an entertaining read-aloud and an engrossing story for those starting to read chapter books on their own.
Karen Rankin is a Toronto, ON, teacher and writer of children’s stories.
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