I bought this book because my dad and I LOVED Frindle (if you haven’t read it, you should), so I wondered what another Andrew Clements book would be like.
The situation itself is a fantasy: I’ve never had a twin, but I know there were times growing up I didn’t even want a sister (not any more though, love you girl). In Lost and Found, Clements explores what might happen if one of the twins gets lost in the system, and two smart and also frustrated kids decide to take advantage. Instead of correcting the mistake, the boys take turns going to school. Of course, it doesn’t help because they have to pretend to be each other, no one can tell the difference, and one ends up doing most of the work while the other gets to have all the fun.
The writing is actually very good. It’s written for a fifth grade reading level, so it’s very clear. I thought this would make it seem stupid or over-simplified, but it’s a very good balance of style and clarity. The characters are very well developed. Mrs. Cardiff, the nurse, is only in a few chapters, but we know enough about her to know what she’s going to do and understand her motivations. And the reader can always tell which twin is which because their personalities are very distinguished, even when they’re trying to be each other.
The ending is very satisfying as well. It isn’t entirely predictable and it doesn’t wrap everything up, but it does make it clear that there is a solution for everything. And since it shows things from both the child and the adult perspectives (though the latter only briefly), it raises the stakes and rounds out the situation nicely.
My most favorite thing about this book: When Mrs. Cardiff defends Mrs. Lane. Because the principal is very set on blaming someone and Mrs. Cardiff defends her while also placing the concern exactly where it belongs: on the children.
My least favorite thing about this book: Ray did seem a little manipulative of Melissa at first, even using “things he knew about girls” to do it. That one scene made me roll my eyes and want to smack him.
Who I would most like to recommend this book to: Twins, mostly, if only to fulfill a fantasy I’m sure you’ve had for a while now. And I would recommend a lot of Clements work to elementary and middle school aged kids. It portrays that age quite realistically, if I’m recalling correctly.
Where I read this book: At PCA.
Where this book sits on my bookshelf: After Frindle and before Things Not Seen, both by Clements.