Project Description

Lost for Words

Lost for Words

by Natalie Russell

A gentle story about finding your creative spark

Tapir wants to express himself, but he can’t find the words! He and his friends all have nice new notebooks, just waiting to be filled. Giraffe decides to write a poem, Hippo writes a story, and Flamingo composes a beautiful song. But poor Tapir can’t think of anything to write – and the harder he tries the more upset he becomes! But everything starts to change when Tapir stops trying to write and begins to draw…

Hardcover: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-739-7
Total Pages: 32
Size: 9 7/8 x 9 7/8
Language: English
Accelerated Reader
AR Quiz#: 163841
AR Reading Level: 3.2
AR Points: 0.5

F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
F&P Level: J
F&P Grade: 1


“Anyone who has ever hunted for inspiration will relate to this delightful story about creativity and friendship.” ―The Horn Book Guide

“Russell’s soft, colorful screen-print-style illustrations fill the pages with sunny skies, vast landscapes, and friendly, contemplative animal friends. Young readers will likely sympathize with the roly-poly Tapir as he worries about whether he is as good as his friends, and they will cheer when he finally discovers his own skills to be proud of.” ―Booklist

“Using shapes, stylized symbols, and carefully considered pops of bright color, [Russell] eases between close-ups and panoramic views to suggest the mixed emotions Tapir feels. The seemingly simple, rhythmic text blossoms into a tender story of longing and accomplishment.” ―School Library Journal

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“Russell’s story stars a tapir whose tubby form, demure snout, and pinprick eyes offer a winsome addition to the traditional picture book menagerie. While most of the writing is in sweet earnest, the moments in which Russell allows herself gentle hints of irony– ‘It’s beautiful,’ whispered Flamingo, wiping a tear from her eye’–are the story’s best.” ―Publishers Weekly

“[Russell’s] palette is filled with soft pastel colors, and her characters are composed with a lot of comforting, curving lines for younger readers… A warmhearted, thoughtful story to share with young readers.” ―Julie Danielson, Kirkus Online

“While blander than many available options about writer’s block, mustering voice or choosing an art form, this may also be more directly encouraging for readers who need the message, as the results seem so achievable.” ―Kirkus

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CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards for Early Literacy (write category, shortlist) ―Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy 2015

Capitol Choices Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens ―Capitol Choices 2015

Best Children’s Books of the Year ―Bank Street College of Education 2015

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Meet the Author/Illustrator

Natalie Russell is an author, illustrator, and printmaker whose work has been widely exhibited. When she’s not in her studio creating books, she can be found at Dundee University in Scotland where she teaches illustration. You can visit her website here.