If your child ever worries about what will happen if they get lost… then this is the perfectly told bedtime tale for them.
This is the award-winning story of one little owl who has a tendency for falling out of his nest. Bouncing across the forest floor, he is soon taken in by a glorious ‘Samaritan’ squirrel who does everything in his power to help identify the the Little Bit Lost owl’s mummy. They set out to find the animal who is “very big. Like this…”, as Little Owl describes his mummy. But when Squirrel proudly points out a big green bear, little owl wails: “No, No! That’s not my mummy…”
And so the journey goes, with squirrel leading the hunt for animals with the physical characteristics Little Owl describes, only to discover that they are still not the little owl’s Mummy. When they find a frog – another victim of mistaken ‘mummy’ identity – the amphibian quickly solves the problem and soon they are all enjoying biscuits whilst sitting safely in Mummy Owl’s tree. Or are they… Uh-oh!
Whilst there are a plethora of ‘mistaken identity’ books out there – a seek-and-cannot-find series of tales – this utterly delightful version wins with its simple repetitions, muted but ever-so-dramatic colour palette, and adorably illustrated characters
First, there is the pure simplicity of the repetitions: squirrels “I know, I know”; Little Owl’s “No! No! That’s not my mummy”; and of course, the most adorable repetition of all… Little Owl’s propensity for falling out of nests.
Chris Haughton’s characters boast a little artistic DNA from Mexican handicrafts, an ounce or two of Henri Rousseau, and just a touch of British panto. “I had wanted to do a fun and light book that was theatrical and very visual,” explains Haughton. “In Europe we have plays for children called pantomimes where there is some visual humour. The ‘here is your mother!’ ‘are you sure this is not your mother??’ dialogue is something that can engage the children. Also in pantomimes often the actor is standing behind the set out of view of another actor but the children can see him and will call out, and I wanted to get that feeling somehow into the plot. That is why I wanted to have the mother in all of the pages but hidden from first view…” (By the way, we can only see the mother in four of the seven pictures when Little Owl is lost… can you see more?)
Now published in 19 languages and the winner of nine awards in seven countries, A Bit Lost is a classic that your children will love from ages one to ninety-one with the iconic images staying imprinted on the mind long after the need to stick close to mummy has faded.
Read Chris’s telling of the fascinating making of his book, which was first published in Korea here…
Author Notes Chris Haughton is an illustrator and designer from Ireland who has illustrated for many international newspapers and advertising campaigns. After travelling through Asia, he became interested in the Fair Trade movement and in 2007 was named in Time magazine’s Design 100 list for his Fair Trade work. A Bit Lost is Haughton’s first picture book. Before he started working in illustration, Haughton spent a year teaching young children across a range of ages english in Hong Kong. The classes were very informal, so he devised a number of lessons around the stories in english books at the school, and would extend the lessons with drama and art classes of the characters. As Haughton explains: “At that point I could think of some different ways those books we had read could be improved upon and I thought of writing and illustrating books seriously.”