"Serendipity" perhaps best describes Richard Ho's (Red Rover) second picture book, The Lost Package, enhanced by writer/artist Jessica Lanan's (The Fisherman & the Whale) superbly expressive watercolors. Together, the creative pair present a wondrous story about separation and near-magical reunion.
Under the watchful eye of a tortoiseshell cat, an Asian American girl packs a box with great care. She drops the package at the post office, where it's "weighed, stamped,/ labeled, and loaded onto a truck." At a building with "wondrous machines" and "a maze of moving belts," the package is processed for airport transport. Alas, the delivery truck ferrying the box to its intended flight hits a pothole, throwing the box out of a suddenly open door into a roadside puddle. Many pass by, until a spotted dog insists its humans stop and look. The timing proves perfect... because the box's intended destination is exactly where the canine and his two people (a Black mother and child) happen to be moving to that very day. Both a happy ending and hopeful new beginnings ensue.
Despite this USPS truck's unlatched door, Ho's author bio credits USPS with his very existence: "I might not be here today," he insists, had the USPS not provided his immigrant father with stable employment that allowed his parents to have a second child--him. Lanan's stellar artistry gorgeously amplifies the USPS's sophisticated processes, while simultaneously enhancing the personal links (matching bff photos, cross-country breaks, introductory tea) the package enables. Both informative and inspiring, The Lost Package celebrates surprising connections that can happen when what's lost gets found. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon