Reviews /

Lost in the City

Authored by Alice Courtley
Illustrated by Alice Courtley
Published by Hachette Children's Group

Tagged , , ,

Lost in the City is Alice Courtley’s debut picture book and has been deservedly longlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize celebrating outstanding newcomers to illustrated fiction.

Maya lives happily with her Gran and kitten, Sammy,  in a cosy little house in a peaceful street. It is a place where she feels safe and comfortable but her adventurous Gran decides they should venture to the city, a place where she has enjoyed exciting times. Fearing the vastness and noise of the city, Maya wants to bring Sammy along to keep her fears at bay but Gran tells her it is no place for a kitten. However, Sammy has other ideas and stows away in Maya’s bag! Once they reach the city, Sammy decides to do some exploring on his own leading. Determined to find him, Maya forgets her fears and follows his footsteps dashing across the city keeping her mission secret from Gran.

This is a debut filled with warmth and heart. Alice Courtley captures the vibrancy and diversity of the city while acknowledging how overwhelming these spaces can be for some. The title page contains clues for the eagle-eyed reader to spot and attention to detail is a huge strength of this story as well as the use of colour. Muted greys are used at the beginning of the journey to reflect Maya’s feelings of doubt and insecurity as she ventures away from home. Gradually rich warm tones are added to the colour palette as Maya focuses on her search for Sammy and her fears subside. Young readers will love spotting Sammy in the busy spreads as the mischievous kitten adventures through the city leaving mayhem in his wake and these provide plenty of laughs too. The relationship between Gran and Maya is depicted as one filled with love and it is a pleasure to see the older character’s enthusiasm for life while gently prompting her granddaughter a little further out of her comfort zone.

Lost in the City is a book I can see being revisited by young readers after hearing it read aloud. An impressive debut and I look forward to seeing what Alice Courltley creates next.