The Lost Boy

The Lost Boy

4.3 3
by Greg Ruth

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Some mysteries are too dangerous to leave alone . . . Nate's not happy about his family moving to a new house in a new town. After all, nobody asked him if he wanted to move in the first place. But when he discovers a tape recorder and note addressed to him under the floorboards of his bedroom, Nate is thrust into a dark mystery about a boy who went missing many,


Some mysteries are too dangerous to leave alone . . . Nate's not happy about his family moving to a new house in a new town. After all, nobody asked him if he wanted to move in the first place. But when he discovers a tape recorder and note addressed to him under the floorboards of his bedroom, Nate is thrust into a dark mystery about a boy who went missing many, many years ago. Now, as strange happenings and weird creatures begin to track Nate, he must partner with Tabitha, a local girl, to find out what they want with him. But time is running out, for a powerful force is gathering strength in the woods at the edge of town, and before long Nate and Tabitha will be forced to confront a terrifying foe, and uncover the truth about the Lost Boy.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Nate has recently moved to town. He's resistant to his new situation until he finds an old reel-to-reel tape recorder under the floorboards. Through a series of recordings, he learns about Walt, who once lived in the house. Soon Nate and his new friend, Tabitha, are in the middle of a sinister web that began with Walt's disappearance 50 years ago. The friends have no choice but to venture into The Kingdom, a dangerous world populated by talking animals, "buglings," worn-out toys, and the evil Vespertine. The first part of the story alternates between the present-day world and the recordings made by Walt in the 1960s. Nate and Tabitha's journey into The Kingdom comprises the second part. The fast-moving plot has several scary elements, and many of the characters have unsettling dark sides. The story culminates with a satisfying battle between good and evil, but also reveals that there are more evil forces to be dealt with and that this is the start of a series. Although the fantasy elements are intriguing, the dialogue often seems contrived and the attempts at sarcastic humor are uneven and forced. The detailed and realistic black-and-white illustrations use a variety of angles to create a visually exciting, cinematic atmosphere. Though the shifts in perspective can be sudden, confusing, and disruptive to the flow of the story, this creepy volume will still find an audience among tweens.—Amy Seto Musser, Denver Public Library
Publishers Weekly
Readers of Ruth’s picture books, which include A Pirate’s Guide to Recess and Red Kite, Blue Kite, are already familiar with his cinematic brand of artwork. He brings the same detail and drama to this chilling graphic novel, which spans more than 50 years. The story opens as a boy named Nate moves to a new town and discovers a tape recorder hidden underneath the floorboards of his bedroom. The action shifts back several decades as Nate listens to recordings left by Walter Pidgen, an outcast boy who disappeared without a trace. Along with a neighbor, Tabitha, Nate is drawn into a supernatural battle involving the denizens of an ancient woodland kingdom, which include talking toys and insects, monstrous wooden soldiers, and a terrifying tree creature called the Vespertine (some violent sequences may disturb younger, more timid readers). The dialogue is often drily funny (especially where Tabitha is involved), if occasionally melodramatic, but Ruth’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous artwork makes up for any narrative shortcomings. The final pages suggest that Ruth has more to say about this creepy fairy-tale world. Ages 8–12. (Sept.) ¦
VOYA - Geri Diorio
Nate finds tapes and a reel-to-reel recorder under the floorboards of his room in the house into which his family just moved. The recordings were made by Walt, a boy who lived in the house years before. Walt narrates an adventure involving his unloving father; a friendly, ageless shopkeeper; and a very large number of supernatural beings. Nate's new neighbor, Tabitha, has been observing strange things in their town (talking animals, giant plants sprouting overnight), and she and Nate soon realize that Walt's tapes are not the work of imagination they initially thought. The two children become enmeshed in the strange occurrences in their little town, but meddling in magical affairs rarely goes well. Ruth has created a unique mythology, incorporating nature spirits, fairies, sprites, and gates to other worlds. His storytelling takes surprising turns, but readers can always follow along and make the narrative leaps he requires and trusts readers to make. Nate and Tabitha, the "real" children in the tale, ground things; Tabitha is all impulse, while Nate is more thoughtful, with a great well of goodness. Ruth's black-and-white pen-and-ink drawings are delicate when needed yet have strong, bold lines at other times. It is gorgeous art that brings the story to life. The fantasy setting may draw readers into this graphic novel, but the depth of the characters will keep the story in their minds long after they finish reading. Reviewer: Geri Diorio
Children's Literature - Raina Sedore
Talking squirrels, walking dolls, and creepy trees, oh my! Nate moves into a new house and discovers an audio recorder under the floorboards of his new room. Through the included recordings, he is introduced to a new world. This insidiously scary and moody book gradually incorporates more and more otherworldly elements in a plot reminiscent of Coraline. The illustrations are uneven; At times the figures, especially, are drawn in a seemingly old fashioned and amateurish style. However, the nonhuman characters and landscapes (particularly his trees) are stunning. Ruth is especially skilled at layouts, and he builds striking composition into every frame and page. This story is full of shadows, and Ruth uses them, both literally and figuratively, in a masterful way. The mature, complex tone may have trouble finding an audience, but kids who revel in atmospheric, haunting books will eat this up. Reviewer: Raina Sedore; Ages 8 to 12.
Kirkus Reviews
A mysterious reel-to-reel tape player may solve a local mystery, but it may also lead to gravest peril. Nate would have preferred staying in the city over his family's move to a creaky, old country house. However, when he finds an old tape machine under the floorboards of his room with an attached note addressed to him and reading "Find him," things get a bit more interesting. The tapes were recorded long ago by a boy named Walt, who narrated his search for missing local pets and whose story is interleaved with Nate's. Walt's investigations take a fantastical turn when the neighborhood fauna, from insects to squirrels, begin to talk. Back in the present, Nate's new friend, Tabitha, relates the local legends of Walt's disappearance. (The two timelines are distinguished by black margins for Walt's story and white margins for Nate's.) As they dig deeper, the two are drawn into a frightening mystery that thrusts them into a strange world through the gate in Crow's Woods. Can they find Walt? Will they even survive? Dark Horse author/illustrator Ruth creates a sinister, yet familiar urban fantasy of parallel worlds. Some lettering in the speech bubbles can be difficult to decipher, but the black-and-white panels of spirits, insects, animals and shadows are packed with action and realistic dialogue. A refreshing fantasy in which not all is spelled out, with tantalizing hints at a sequel. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
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Scholastic, Inc.
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File size:
98 MB
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Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Greg Ruth has written and drawn stories for Dark Horse Comics, DC/Vertigo, Fantagraphics, and The New York Times. His first picture book, OUR ENDURING SPIRIT, was written by Barack Obama. He is currently working on the graphic novel by Ethan Hawke. THE LOST BOY is his debut graphic novel for Scholastic. He lives and works in Western Massachusetts. Visit his website at

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The Lost Boy 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book! The pictures arw amazing! The plot is amazing! Overal 5 stars! Hope there is sequal
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Extremely good. Hoping there is a sequel!
AliceGrace More than 1 year ago
I received this ARC via Netgalley. No compensation was given or taken to alter this review. When I requested The Lost Boy, I didn't know that it was actually a graphic novel, so imagine my surprise when I opened the file on my NOOK and a bunch of pictures showed up. All of the graphic novels I'd read up until then had all been Japanese (translated to English of course) so The Lost Boy was actually my first American graphic novel. I was already kind of getting back into reading this type of stuff so The Lost Boy caught me at probably the best time. Upon moving into his new house, Nate discovers a tape recorder narrated by a boy who had previously lived in the house and gone missing. As Nate listens, the narrator's story becomes weirder and weirder. But as Nate continues to listen, he begins to see some awfully strange things.... What I liked: I thought the artwork was great. Some of the bigger pictures in The Lost Boy made me wish I had a physical copy of the graphic novel. You could really see the detail carefully sketched into every picture. Honestly, I think the artwork was my favorite part. There were times when I would just stare at a page and wish. If you're interested in reading this, definitely pick it up at the library or buy at the bookstore. You'll have a better reading experience with it in your hands than on your ereader. What I was a little iffy on: The story was interesting enough but I felt like Ruth didn't spend enough time explaining things. Even now, I'm not really certain what all those little forest creatures were called and how or why a doll is among that world. Yes, a baby doll was walking around, which could have been creepy I suppose but I didn't really get the creep factor. I mostly just wondered why a doll was so knowledgeable. I get that there's magic involved but sometimes I felt like I had just been dropped into the middle of a story and it was expected that I'd be just fine there. It's actually because of this that it was really hard to summarize the story. Hence my basically non-existent summary above. Maybe it was because I was in a hurry to read it, but I also felt like the story was a little rushed. I've read graphic novels before and I'm no expert, but 192 pages isn't enough to make the story feel like it it's not being thrown at you. If you think about it, when you read graphic novels, you're going to flip through those pages much faster so the author kind of needs to show us more or linger in certain parts of the story. As for the plot, I wish there had been more to it before Nate and his friends finally confronted the "bad guy" who happened to be the very person I expected. Yup. About half way through or so I was like, oh, that person is the guy who's after the key. Then ta-da! It was a little disappointing. The whole ending and journey towards the antagonist was really bare-bones. It was literally the protagonist (and his friends) running towards the antagonist and only dodging their pursuers once. There really wasn't much to it and I think there could have been a lot more there that would have made things really interesting. I liked The Lost Boy but it was a bit of a let-down.