The Lost Watch

Illustrated by Alice Bell
Scholastic, 2003
ISBN: 978-1-86943-566-0

It’s Dad’s birthday but Henry doesn’t have enough money for a present and he’s too old to give Dad one of his own drawings. Mum’s suggestion of one whole squabble-free day doesn’t appeal, so she lends him enough money to buy a ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ pen. Mum’s present to Dad is a wonderful, expensive-looking watch. It’s so wonderful Henry has to try it on while Dad’s in the shower. He’s halfway to school before he realises the watch is still on his arm. He takes it to school, shows it to Simon then loses it. Who can he blame?
(from “Brat – books for readers and teachers” in Booknotes, Summer 2003)

The story behind the book

One of our children really did lose a watch! She carefully posted it down the hole in the base of a sun umbrella, and we didn’t find it until the next summer. (By then it wasn’t much use.)

The Lost Watch was shortlisted for the 2004 Bilby Awards – the annual Children’s Choice awards for the state of Queensland. (Bilby stands for Books I Love Best Yearly.)

The Lost Watch


When Simon’s Mum drops me off back home, the whole house is in an uproar.  I’m absolutely starving, but there’s no sign of anything to eat.  Nobody even asks if we won or not.

Mum’s got the vacuum cleaner out and a whole pile of dusters.  She’s decided she might as well give the place a complete going-over if we’re going to turn it all upside-down anyway, looking for Dad’s watch.  She and Dad are crawling round the floor at Claudia-level, trying to work out where Claudia might have put it.  They’ve found missing jigsaw puzzle pieces, a few coins, odd socks, overdue library books and mouldy half-eaten crackers – but no watch.

I know why they haven’t found the watch.


“A short, race-through story that will gladden the heart of small boys, as they realise they’re not the only ones with a record of losing things. Here, Henry accidentally borrows his father’s watch, and then leaves it at school over the weekend. His family is in an uproar, and Henry finds that one lie leads rapidly to more. For 7- to 8- year olds, although my 9-year-old read it in one sitting, laughing knowingly and judging it “cool”.
NZ herald, 9 August 2003

“A funny, easy to read story about a small boy’s guilt that would be a good read-aloud.”
Too good to miss; New Zealand children’s books 2004-2005

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