Did you know that although armadillos have very poor eyesight, they have a keen sense of smell? I didn’t either, until I read Arlo Gets Lost, an adorable new children’s book from Wendy Wax and Adam Relf (illustrator). In the book, Arlo the armadillo and Jack the rabbit go off together to fly kites on a windy day. They fly kites “to Mars!” and “to Jupiter!” which is endearing, and reminiscent of what we do when we pump our legs and swing high to the sky on the backyard playset. They pass everyday forest landmarks like pine trees and a skunk hole, and Jack speeds along while Arlo struggles to keep up (all of which subtly teach an appreciation of the natural world as well as facts such as the relative speeds of rabbits and armadillos).
All goes well and the kites soar in the air, and the animals are happy as they play. Arlo says, “I smell rain.” But no one listened. (An easy bridge to teaching children about listening to each other, and the keen sense of smell that armadillos have, and how animals often know about changes in the weather long before humans do.)
Then, of course, the rain comes, and the friends set off for home. After a mini-adventure, Arlo heads toward home but can’t remember which way he came. “If I only I had paid attention to how I got here,” he thought. (An excellent reminder for all of us!) He rolls into a ball to protect himself when he gets scared. (And what do you do when you get scared, honey?) And then he realizes that he has to take action to get himself home. He uses his talent, his sense of smell, to find his way home, back past the landmarks that the friends passed in the beginning of the book.
This is a well-written and beautifully illustrated book, on thick paper that makes it feel even more like an excellent choice for a rainy evening or just before nap. Definitely a good addition to a child’s library.
Disclosure: Sterling Books sent me a box of books this fall for possible review. I am never compensated for reviews, nor do publishers, authors, or marketers have any control over what I write.