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Nova’s Missing Masterpiece

By Brooke Graham & by Robin Tatlow-Lord

Reviewed by Helen Gearing

From the author-illustrator team whose debut picture book Go Away, Worry Monster! was shortlisted for the CBCA New Illustrator Award in 2020, Nova’s Missing Masterpiece is a vibrant new story about resilience and learning to cope in stressful situations.
Nova has spent all weekend creating a gorgeous portrait for her dad’s birthday. But the party is tonight and she can’t find her masterpiece anywhere. As Nova tears through the house with her faithful dog Harley, ‘scaveng[ing] amongst the sheets’ and ‘slither[ing] into the washing machine’, she struggles to keep her cool. Fortunately, Harley is an expert at staying calm – and with his help Nova is able to manage her stress and continue the search.
Graham has done an exceptional job keeping the plot front and centre while organically demonstrating coping skills and emotional regulation through a strong, relatable main character. The language is playful and interesting, and gentle repetition creates a lovely read-aloud lilt. Tatlow-Lord’s illustrations use a bold palette of pinks and reds which intensify as the tension increases, cleverly mirroring Nova’s emotions.
Each character is exquisitely rendered with thoughtful details and their personalities leap from the page. Beautifully patterned endpapers also provide clues for a search-and-find challenge as readers hunt through the illustrations for Nova and her Dad’s favourite activities.
Nova’s Missing Masterpiece is an excellent story for three to seven year olds looking for a relatable, rollicking story and for their caregivers who are interested in exploring ways to help manage big emotions.
EK Books 2024
Brooke Graham
Robin Tatlow-Lord
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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