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The Lost Children Hardcover – February 9, 2010

46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–7—Lonely Josephine Russing, 12, is ignored by her father and is an outcast at school. One day she follows a strange mute boy into her toolshed and falls through a vortex into an orphan asylum near the medieval-like town of Gulm, where the boy, Fargus, and his brash friend Ida will soon be sacrificed to a boy-tyrant named the Master, who has ruled for decades with two minion beasts, the Brothers, who feed by siphoning energy from children. The plucky threesome escape, evade the Brothers, and are betrayed by a couple who send Ida and Fargus to the Master. Josephine is rescued by the son of a dimensional/time travel scholar, and they must rescue Ida and Fargus and get Josephine and the children of Gulm home. This ambitious fairy-tale adventure takes on time travel, immortality, the importance of family, and, ultimately, the power of love, with many funny foibles, tragic histories, twists, and family secrets revealed. Josephine and Ida are spunky, realistic heroines, but the pacing is slowed by frequent detours into backstory and too many secondary characters. The plot doesn't always hang together, and the fractured narrative sometimes requires a push to get through. The ending, including revelations about Josephine's father, doesn't add up. This is a possibility for nondiscriminating fantasy readers, but it isn't likely to be wholly satisfying.—Riva Pollard, Prospect Sierra Middle School, El Cerrito, CA
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From Booklist

Twelve-year-old Josephine, ignored by her father and scorned by classmates, is lonely until she meets Fargus, who appears (and disappears) from her garden shed. Josephine follows, and is magically transported to the Higgins Institute where Fargus and Ida are orphans. Threatened by beasts (the Brothers) who are controlled by a villain (the Master), the trio escapes, setting in motion a far-flung adventure. Cohagan’s first novel is a time-slip fantasy set in a world in which childhood is threatened yet infinitely prolonged in order to satisfy the Brothers’ hunger and the Master’s desire for total domination. The main characters are well developed, particularly the spunky and plain-spoken Ida, the laconic but loyal Fargus, and Josephine, whose journey uncovers hidden strengths and helps her to understand her enigmatic father. Although the story is wrapped up a little too neatly, Fargus’ secret will especially intrigue. Share with fans of Mary Downing Hahn’s Time for Andrew (1994) for another look at solving family problems through time travel. Grades 4-6. --Kay Weisman

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; First Edition edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416986162
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416986164
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,644,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carolyn began her writing career as a stand-up comic, performing in comedy clubs all over the world including New York, Chicago, London, Amsterdam, and Auckland. After studying physical theater at the Ecole International de Theatre Jacques LeCoq in Paris she began to write and perform one-woman shows. "No Spleen" has been performed in Edinburgh, Chicago, and New York and enjoyed a sold out run at the Adelaide International Fringe Festival in Australia. "If Americans Are So Awful Then Take Your Hand Off My Knee" premiered at the Orlando Fringe Festival and was nominated for three Umbrella Awards.
Carolyn spent time in the theatre company "Blue Inc" and was the co-creator and producer of the production "Splice," a theatrical ode to cinema, and performed in both the 2001 and 2002 tours of the show throughout North America and Canada. The show was voted "Most Outstanding Production" and "Most Creative Production" of the Toronto International Fringe Festival.
After moving to Los Angeles, Carolyn wrote and directed short films, worked for Slamdance and the LA Film Festival and was a red carpet host for the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
"The Lost Children" is Carolyn's first novel. It is part of the Scholastic Book Club and was nominated for a 2014 Massachusetts Children's Book Award.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on June 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When I was around 10, I went through a phase of reading ghost stories. These stories involved severed limbs, unexplained phenomena and lots of things that went bump in the night, but avoided the true horror and nightmare-inducing potential of someone like Stephen King or Dean Koontz. When I read Carolyn Cohagan's debut novel, THE LOST CHILDREN, I knew it was exactly the kind of book I would have relished as a 10-year-old: creepy yet comforting at the same time, a book that sends chills down your spine but also reminds you, in the time it would take you to heat up some hot cocoa or put on a sweater, that things are probably going to be okay after all.

Josephine Russing is a lonely child; the only evidence she has that her wealthy father knows she exists is that he gives her a new pair of gloves every single week, apparently as a token of his affection (or at least attention). Mr. Russing is a glove magnate who has managed to pass legislation that everyone in their town must wear gloves at all times. This law is profitable for him, to be sure, but a major annoyance for everyone else, and a painful reminder to Josephine of the "hands-off" relationship she has with him.

More than anything, Josephine wants siblings. So when a mute boy named Fargus suddenly appears in her backyard shed, bearing a seemingly empty suitcase that actually holds a photograph of Josephine surrounded by a large, loving family, Josephine is puzzled and intrigued. As for Fargus, he returns to his own land of Gulm, convinced he'll never see Josephine again. That is, until she happens upon the same crack between their worlds --- and lands in a bizarre nightmare place.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I absolutly loved this book! After reading Harry Potter, every book I read seemed very boring. This book was AMAZING! I could not put the book down. I read it within one day because it was so interesting. I always wanted to know what happened next. I enjoyed the action and I hope that there is a sequel because I loved The Lost Children so much!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kristen M. Harvey on August 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Why I read this: It looked like a fun time-travel middle grade fiction, so I thought I'd give it a read. :)

Plot: I have to say, I really like time-travel plots, especially in children's novels. You get the best of both worlds, adventure and usually some glances into different cultures. This plot had some great adventure, some very cool worlds to explore, and a bad guy that I would have never thought up in a million years.

Characters: I'm going to start with the bad guy on this one. Definitely an inventive bad guy and the creatures he harnesses are something you do not want to mess with. I love the unusual bad guy, makes the story a lot more interesting.

Josephine, the main character, takes every plot turn in stride, trying her best to make the most of what is going on and keep going so she can get back to her world.

Fargus is the silent sidekick, having lost his ability to speak after he ruined his family's lives, he cannot seem to communicate with his voice. He makes for an interesting character and definitely one that feels guilty for his foolish mistake.

Ida is quite a spitfire, the other companion that has known Fargus growing up and can understand him better than anyone. She definitely is the tough one in the group and keeps them moving at different points in the novel.

Relatability: If you've ever been a child or have an imagination, this book is for you. There's nothing more fun than believing another world exists and there is a doorway to it in your shed. I definitely think this will appeal to all types of kids thanks to the wonderful way it is written.

Cover Commentary: Love it. Definitely portrays something ominous but adventurous.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Clark on February 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this book just to make sure it was something I thought my 9-year-old niece would enjoy, and then couldn't stop! The prose is smart and well-crafted, the story telling is compelling, and the characters have really stuck with me. Entering the land of Gulm and exploring it with the three kid protagonists reminded me of my first time in Narnia or Through the Looking Glass. Beyond being a really enjoyable and imaginative read, the themes continue to resonate: how parents and their kids communicate (both in what they say and don't say) is truly universal.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rowan Reader on April 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
I want to begin by saying that I'm fairly sure this book suffered from 'first book syndrome,' characterized by what I like to call the "everything and the kitchen sink" school of plotting.

I almost could see the checklist getting ticked off.
Cold and humorless (and therefore mysterious) father figure? Check.
Timid but secretly spunky heroine? Check.
Space-time convolutions? Check.
Mean caretaker women/witch characters? Check.
Creepy children? Doublecheck.
Useless adults? Triplecheck.

That established, it was a decent first attempt, and a fun read. I'm currently trying to not think too closely about the ending, which, like all space-time-convolution stories, doesn't really hold up well when thought about closely. There are also some characterization choices right at the end that don't quite match the characters as we have come to know them through the book. (Slightly more irritating, those character choices, while useful to the angst of the heroine throughout the tale, could have been exised and replaced with very little difficulty, making it all the more jarring to encounter.)

Basic idea: Josephine is a half-orphan, and her father is so distant that she may as well be a real one. She gets new gloves once a week, but can't remember what his voice sounds like. One day, a small boy appears, and whisks her off to a place where children are endangered by magical beasts, and all the adults are powerless to help them. Josephine, Fargus (the little boy she meets), and their friend Ida all quest through this new world to salvage what they can of their own families, and those of the other lost children.

Warnings about content section: (in other words, watch out for spoilers below.
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