The Ostrich and Other Lost Things

288p. Philomel. Feb. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399546068.
Gr 4 Up—Eleven-year-old Olivia has a gift for finding lost things, except for the plastic toy ostrich that she thinks has a soothing effect on her older brother Jacob who has autism. Over the course of a summer, Olivia sets out to find Jacob's ostrich while volunteering at the zoo, auditioning for a production of Peter Pan, figuring out why and how a live ostrich keeps appearing in her backyard, and trying to keep her family together. With the help of her new friend Charlie and through Peter Pan, Olivia discovers that maybe not everything lost was meant to be found. Hautala's narrative is steady and fairly consistent as she guides readers through Olivia's adventurous summer. The story closely follows Olivia's physical and emotional journeys, usually focusing on one problem or scene per chapter. Occasionally, readers catch a glimpse of Olivia's "Neverdos," marking the major turns of the plot and of Olivia's emotional storm. While readers may get a bit lost at times, they will quickly find their way back through Hautala's rhythmic style, simplistic language, and detailed descriptions.
VERDICT As in her first book, Waiting for Unicorns, Hautala offers an emotionally adept story about love and understanding.

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