Lost. Found.

Illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Published by Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan

Dedicated to my editor, Neal Porter, and my agent, Karen Grencik, who brought me back into the circle.

On a wintry day, a bear loses his soft red scarf. The wind carries it *whoosh* to a pair of raccoons who use it to play tug-o-war. When they run off, a beaver dons the scarf as the perfect winter hat…until it gets tangled on a tree branch. The scarf is lost and found by a series of animals, including a fox and a couple of rascally squirrels, who use it as everything from a swing to a trampoline.

When all the animals lay claim to the scarf at once, calamity ensues that can only be fixed by a bear, a little patience, and friendship, in this nearly wordless, clever picture book.

The Story Behind The Story

Most of my other books have a story behind the story. Perhaps they were inspired by growing up with Ayrshire cows on my father’s farm or by my daughter’s love of beautiful pink hairbows. But Lost. Found. was different. The story came to me in the early morning hours as a few images, including a bear in a wintry landscape wearing a red scarf.

I’m especially thrilled that the illustrator of Lost. Found., Matthew Cordell, won the 2018 Caldecott Medal for his book, Wolf In The Snow. A Caldecott winner illustrated my book! Congratulations to Matthew and all his wondrous books…including Lost. Found.

Awards and Honors

  • Junior Library Guild Selection 2015
  • Bank Street Best Books of the Year 2016
  • L.L. Bean’s Northern Lights Celebration Storywalk
  • Winterkids’ of Maine Storywalk 2019
  • Firefly Scholastic Book Club
  • Nerdy Book Club Award 2015

Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

★“half nature documentary, half Marx Brothers.”

School Library Journal, Starred Review

★“The attention to detail and the expressions displayed on the animals’ faces are superb. A fun addition to any picture book collection.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Starred Review

★“Cordell’s scribbly, rapid lines have a Quentin Blake flair, and they imbue his simple landscapes (a few green watercolor trees and earth-toned animals are enough to make a winter wonderland against which the red scarf stands out brilliantly) with a frantic energy suitable to the tale of overexcited and forgetful critters.”


“Just two words (and many amusing sound effects) form the text of this visually driven story about conflict resolution, resourcefulness, community – and a red scarf.”

The Horn Book

“This book invites participation, and young listeners will quickly catch on to the narrative pattern.”

Richie’s Picks

“Lost.Found. is a delightful, high-energy, animal-character picture book…” I really like that Lost.Found. will prompt audiences to imagine many creative and wacky things that one can do with a simple scarf. But what I especially appreciate about the story is how it contrasts with our throwaway society. Everyone has a use for this piece of used clothing. Then, when the scarf comes unraveled, it’s fixed instead of being tossed in the trash. Matthew Cordell does a superb job of bringing to life a whimsical, expressive cast of characters. I’m really glad to have found this one.”