A boy discovers a bizarre-looking creature while out collecting bottle-tops at a beach. Having guessed that it is lost, he tries to find out who owns it or where it belongs, but the problem is met with indifference by everyone else, who barely notice its presence. Each is unhelpful in their own way; strangers, friends, parents are all unwilling to entertain this uninvited interruption to day-to-day life. In spite of his better judgement, the boy feels sorry for this hapless creature, and attempts to find out where it belongs.
The Lost Thing received an Honourable Mention at the Bologna International Book Fair, Italy, was named an Honour Book at the CBCA Awards, won an Aurealis Award and a Spectrum Award for illustration in the United States. Original illustrations from the book were exhibited at the Itabashi Art Museum in Tokyo.
A London-based film production company, Passion Pictures, is currently adapting The Lost Thing as a short animated film, and the Canberra-based youth theatre company Jigsaw has staged a multi-media adaptation of the story at the National Gallery of Australia in October 2004.