Are we Lost? is the second book in a series about Raymond and Sheila, brother and sister alligators who often face challenges and emotions that are bound to resonate with young readers. In this story, Raymond and Sheila face a dilemma as Raymond wants to walk to the ice cream truck to get an ice cream and Sheila, who can’t leave their stuff, worries that he may get lost on the crowded beach:
“Sheila, I’m five and five twelfths,” Raymond reminded his sister. “My getting lost days are over.”
Sheila reluctantly agrees to let him go, reminding him to look for their purple umbrella to find his way back. The story follows Raymond on his adventure to the ice cream truck and back again. Of course, Raymond must overcome a few obstacles along the way. Fortunately Raymond’s friend Snowball the teddy bear tags along for encouragement. The story is well written and the characters endearing. The dialogue between the characters is true to life and often humorous. Colorful illustrations by Eli Noyes beautifully depict the emotion of the characters and enhance the story.
What I especially love about the Raymond and Sheila books is how the characters become positive role models for children. The relationship between the characters and the circumstances they find themselves in are easy to relate to. Although they encounter some challenges and occasionally disagree, Raymond and Sheila offer a loving example of a sibling relationship. In a world filled with television sit-coms depicting sibling rivalry and jokes at one another’s expense, it’s refreshing to see characters that model a sibling relationship that is respectful and kind.
Another feature I appreciate about Are We Lost? is the Parent Guide at the end of the story. Parents are encouraged to read and discuss the story together with their children in order to explore the feelings and situations the characters experience. When I read the book with my nine-year-old son, I took advantage of the discussion prompts in the Parent Guide. As a result, I learned some things about my son I wasn’t aware of before. For instance, when we talked about how Sheila felt worried when she couldn’t find Raymond, I asked my son what he worries about. He told me he worries about taking tests at school, which was a surprise to me since he always makes good grades. The discussion prompts at the end of the story really make the story time experience richer by encouraging children and their caregivers to communicate with one another and explore the topics more deeply.
The story’s author, Annie Fox, does a remarkable job of creating characters and situations that are meaningful and relevant to their intended audience. An award-winning author and educator, Annie Fox has made it her life’s work to help children and teens develop the skills and courage needed to “do the right thing”. In addition to her books and apps for children, she offers advice to parents and teens on her website and has recently published a book for parents entitled, Teaching Kids to Be Good People.
I really liked the first Raymond and Sheila story, Are You My Friend?, and the second book in the series is equally impressive. It covers topics relating to sibling relationships, responsibility, courage, and problem solving. It also makes a nice discussion starter for parents to talk to their children about safety and what to do if you get lost. Are We Lost is a heartwarming story that will captivate children and parents alike.
Are We Lost? is published digitally by Electric Eggplant, founded by David and Annie Fox. You may already be familiar with their Middle School Confidential apps: Be Confident in Who You Are and Real Friends vs. the Other Kind. I downloaded Are We Lost? on Amazon and read it on my iPad using the Kindle app. A print edition is also available.
If you hurry, you can download Are We Lost? on Amazon FREE for a limited time. The sale ends Friday, March 15, so don’t wait! Both Raymond and Sheila books are available for free in Spanish as well: Are We Lost ¿Estamos Perdidos? and Are You My Friend? ¿Eres Mi Amigo?.
More information about the series can be found on the Raymond and Sheila website.