Project Description


Lost for Words

by Natalie Russell

Tapir wants to express himself, but he can’t find the words!

Tapir 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.

This gentle story from author and illustrator Natalie Russell will inspire even the littlest artists to find their creative spark.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-739-7
Publication Date: 3/1/2014
Page Count: 32
Size: 9-7/8 ̎ x 9-7/8 ̎
Age Range: 4 – 8
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Price: $7.99
ISBN: 978-1-68263-157-7
Publication Date: 2/1/2020
Page Count: 32
Size: 9-7/8 ̎ x 9-7/8 ̎
Age Range: 4 – 8
Language: English
AR Level: 3.2
F&P: L Gr 2, Genre F
Lexile: AD540L
Themes: Collaboration, Creativity, Inspiration
BISAC 1: JUV002000 JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / General
BISAC 2: JUV051000 JUVENILE FICTION / Imagination & Play
BISAC 3: JUV039060 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Friendship


“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

“The seemingly simple, rhythmic text blossoms into a tender story of longing and accomplishment. The universal theme of discovering one’s special talents is explored in this tale of friendship and the power of creativity.” ―School Library Journal

“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…are the story’s best.” ―Publishers Weekly

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

“A tribute to wordless picture books…. [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 Reviews online feature

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

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

CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards for Early Literacy (Write Category, Shortlist) ―Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy, 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.