#516 – Lost for Words by Natalie Russell



Lost for Words

by Natalie Russell

Peachtree Publishers    3/01/2014


Age 4 to 8  32 pages


“Tapir and his friends all have nice new notebooks, just waiting to be filled. Giraffe decides to write a poem, Hippo writes a story, and Flamingo composes a beautiful song. But poor Tapir can’t think of anything to write – and the harder he tries the more upset he becomes! But everything starts to change when Tapir stops trying to write and begins to draw… this gentle story will inspire even the littlest artists to find their creative sparks.”


“Tapir had some pencils and a nice new notebook. But he didn’t know what to write.”

The Story

Tapir and his friends all have new notebooks and pencils. Giraffe, Hippo, and Flamingo all easily fill their notebooks with poems, stories, and songs. Tapir is stuck. He is having classic writer’s block. Nothing would come to mind. Tapir thought he must doing something wrong. He imitated his friends. First, Tapir tried humming but no words came. He tried chewing on nice green leaves off the tree, but all that came was a grumpy feeling. Finally, Tapir tried wallowing in the mud. Nothing. Tapir’s friends told him not to worry something would come to him. Poor Tapir didn’t think so. He walked away, way up to the top of the hill, where he could see everything and everything was so beautiful. No words came.


For anyone who has ever had writer’s block, this is the picture book for you. Poor Tapir could not think of anything to write. Giraffe is writing poetry, Flamingo composes a song, and Hippo writes a story, but Tapir could not think of anything to write. Words would not come for Tapir. He tried so hard to force words to flow. Tapir tried copying his friend’s methods—humming, eating leaves, wallowing in mud, but they didn’t work because Tapir’s mind works Tapir’s way.


I love that Tapir wandered off somewhere quiet where all he had was his own resources. Then he simply looked around and inspiration hit. Words still did not come to Tapir, because he did not need words to express himself. Tapir needs pictures. When he was lost for words, Tapir tried to be like his friends when all he needed was to be true to himself. What a great message.

The beautiful illustrations are in lighter shades of blues, greens, and yellows, with orange and a little brown thrown in. Author/illustrator Natalie Russell’s spreads are screen prints, not charcoal, pencils, or digitally made with Illustrator or Photoshop. Even drawn creativity can be many different styles, just as writing can be many different forms and genres. It is good to remember Hippo’s process of writing stories will not be Tapir’s way of creating pictures. A gentle push—a walk up a hill—might work, but creativity cannot forced.


Lost for Words will entertain young children and might spark their imaginations. The story of these four friends and the different ways they filled their notebooks is itself creative. After reading Lost for Words several times—or maybe just once—young children will be asking for a notebook of their own. Some will find words and write a poem or a story, or maybe a song. Others will draw pictures to express themselves. If Lost for Words encourages creativity, it has been a success.


Learn more about Lost for Words HERE.

Buy your own copy of Lost for Words at AmazonB&NPeachtreeyour local bookstore.

Meet the author / illustrator, Natalie Russell at her website:  http://www.natalierussell.co.uk/

Find more great Peachtree books at their website:  http://peachtree-online.com/


LOST FOR WORDS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Natalie Russell. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.


Other Spring 12014 Releases from Peachtree

grudge keeper.


The Grudge Keeper   4/01/2014


charlie bumpers nice gnome.


Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome  4/012014



claude at beach.


Claude at the Beach   4/01/2014



lost for words


Peachtree Book Blog Tour

Lost for Words

Monday, 3/10/14
Sally’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, 3/11/14

It’s About Time Mamaw

Wednesday, 3/12/14
Chat with Vera

A Word’s Worth

Thursday, 3/13/14

Tolivers to Texas

Kid Lit Reviews

Friday, 3/14/14
Geo Librarian


Next Peachtree Book Blog Tour: ABOUT HABITATS: FORESTS, starting Monday, March 17th


6 thoughts on “#516 – Lost for Words by Natalie Russell

  1. Sounds like a cute book! Nice illustrations! Cathy calls her lost words……..”senior moments”. ; ) Great review, Sue!


    • I would definitely get this. If anyone needs a book to help with writer’s block it is absolutely Mr. Prolific! You will enjoy it. I’ve got one on dangling participles coming soon. You may want to give that one a try, too. 🙂


  2. Sue, This book sounds adorable. For many new and young writers–not to mention older ones too–it’s hard putting pen to a blank piece of paper. I may try to pick this one up for my son. Great review!


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