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Lost in Place
Author

Cindy Kenney

Published

January 30, 2005

Lost in Place is a book that is based upon "Lost in Space".

Plot

Junior and Laura are playing Hide and Seek, with Laura seeking while Junior hides, as he tells Laura that she'll never find him while he darts down an alley and runs down the sidewalk, before diving behind some bushes and snuggling into a hiding place. After a few minutes, Junior peeks around the bushes, finding no sign of Laura. In fact, there isn't any sign of anything familiar, just as the sun begins to set and darkness creeps in, with still no sign of Laura. Junior slips out from behind the bushes, looking to his left, then to his right, not knowing the way home. Meanwhile, back at the Asparagus house, Laura describes to Junior's parents what happened, saying that she called and called his name but he never came out. Junior's parents look at each other, wondering where Junior could be. In the meantime, Junior tries to find his way home, not recognizing anyone or anything. Turning a corner, he heads down a dark alley, before wondering if it was his imagination or if there was something watching him. Junior nears the end of the alley just a large square shadow with heavy footsteps approaches him.

Junior is surprised about the prospect of footsteps in VeggieTown, and ends up running the opposite direction when the sound startles him. At the other end of the alley, two large shadows move toward him, while Junior hears heavy breathing as he chokes back a tear. One of the figures calls out Junior's name, which causes Junior to wonder how they know his name, while the other figure also calls out for Junior, before Junior realizes that it was his mom and dad. Junior is glad to see his parents, telling them that he was really scared and that a big monster was chasing after him, before the shadow chasing after him is revealed to actually be a policeman, who looks down at Junior while smiling at him. Dad Asparagus tells Junior that they were worried too, then tells him that God watches over you and that he's with you wherever you go, before Mom Asparagus adds that if you put your trust in God, he will make you strong and help you through anything you're afraid of. Junior is glad to hear all that, but now, he just wants to go home. The next day, Junior refuses to leave the house, even when Percy Pea asked him to go to the park and when Laura Carrot asked him to ride bikes. Junior's parents encourage him to go to a friend's house, but Junior is too afraid to go anywhere, before Mom Asparagus suggests that they go to the Treasure Trove Bookstore to pick out a book for Junior if he's going to stay home all day.

At the bookstore, Mom Asparagus explains to Mr. O'Malley about what happened and for him to help them find a good adventure to read. Mr. O'Malley tells Mom Asparagus that he happens to have a story that takes place in outer space, so he goes to find it, finding it between the Using Your Noodle When You Doodle books and God Is Bigger Than the Boogie Man, the book called Lost in Place, and for Junior to look at it. Inside the storybook, Junior sees a spaceship flying through a galaxy filled with stars and planets. At that very moment, four lift up from the galaxy and swirl around Junior, four little words tumbling and twirling through shooting stars; ONCE UPON A TIME. All at once, Junior gets caught up in the stars and goes racing, tumbling, twirling, until landing inside a spaceship. A cucumber named Don Quest calls out to a family of grapes called the Rattleson family that the ship's new crew member has arrived, before welcoming Junior to their ship called the Jitterbug 2. Junior is confused as he starts looking around, once again finding himself in unfamiliar territory, before asking what happened to the Jitterbug 1. Don Quest answers that "that bug lost its jitter in a meteor storm last year", then further explains that he got this ship up and running in no time and that they're back on course, also explaining that the ship can do the jitterbug, the watoosie, and even the hokey-pokey. At the same time, a gourd with squinty eyes turns away from his telescope to analyze Junior, asking Junior what kind of experience he has, which Junior is at a loss for words at. Pa Rattleson introduces the gourd as Dr. Smirk, their ship's scientist, but also explains that his way of doings things is a little different, before going on to explain that the Rattleson family is on their way to find a new home in the Alphabeta Solar System.

Dr. Smirk then sneers that they can't find the way, while Pa Rattleson adds that they keep getting lost as he checks several instruments on the Jitterbug 2. A robot then beeps that lost is an accurate answer and that Dr. Smirk's direction formulas are incorrect, which causes Dr. Smirk to bark at the robot that they didn't ask for his opinion. Pa Rattleson changes the subject by introducing himself and the rest of his family to Junior as the Rattleson family; Ma, Penny, Will, and Judy. Will then asks Pa if Junior can really help them find their way through the solar system, which surprises Junior. Just then, the ship begins to jitter, while Ma Rattleson tells everyone to hang on, which causes Judy to ask how they're supposed to do that. The ship veers to left and tips everyone left, before veering to the right and tipping everyone right, before the ship bobbles up and down as Don Quest yells out that it's a meteor shower. Everyone grabs a shower cap and starts running around the ship, yelling about getting some shampoo, fresh towels, and an umbrella. Will grumbles at Penny to get out of his way, while calling her a frazzled frizzle-brain, while Penny also tells Will to get out of her way while calling him a jittery-jumping bean, before Ma Rattleson yells out them to stop their fighting because they're in a crisis. Then comes the dreaded words, which are "We're off course! We've lost our place in space - again!" Everyone stops and stares at the robot as he confirms the announcement. Junior becomes afraid, knowing that his mom and dad wouldn't be able to save him this time, before the Rattlesons start screaming.

Suddenly, someone yells at them to stop, before Junior tells everyone that they shouldn't panic, as everyone stares at Junior. With all eyes focused on him, Junior wonders how he can help the crew of the Jitterbug 2, then asks the crew if they ever thought that they're not alone in all this, though Will, Penny, and Judy answer that they haven't. This causes Junior to realize that he felt alone, just like the others, before telling himself, "God watches over you. He is with you wherever you go." Junior then tells everyone on the ship that God is watching over them right now and that He never leaves us, even when we're in a different solar system, before remembering his mom's words, "If you put your trust in God, he will make you strong and help you through anything you're afraid of." Junior then continues that God wants us to trust him so He can help us find our way through anything and that if they remember that, they can all figure out what to do. Everyone blinks and looks at each other, wondering if this could be true. Finally, Don Quest then decides to speak, saying that he was just following Dr. Smirk's orders, as Pa Rattleson demands if this is true.

Dr. Smirk turns away while explaining that he didn't want to mislead them, but he heard that the Alphabeta Solar System only liked Veggies that know their ABC's and that he didn't know his, so he was afraid that no one would like him. Judy is surprised that Dr. Smirk gave them bad directions, while Will is surprised that Dr. Smirk got them lost on purpose. Junior then tells Dr. Smirk that he doesn't have to be afraid either because no matter where you go, you'll never be alone because God is with you, and that it doesn't matter if you're lost or if you find yourself in a new situation and that God will help you through anything. The robot agrees with what Junior said, saying that the message computes, before quoting Isaiah 41:10. Don Quest buckles himself back in and turns the ship around, confident that God is watching over them. Ma and Pa Rattleson turn back to the controls and say that they need some help cleaning the shampoo off the levers. Will tells Ma and Pa Rattleson that that won't be a problem because God can help them through anything, while Penny volunteers to help Dr. Smirk with his ABC's, which Dr. Smirk thanks Penny for and starts to work on a new formula. Knowing God was with him, he trusts that he would find a new way to get to the Alphabeta Solar System, so inserts a new direction formula into the robot. The robot confirms that Dr. Smirk's calculations are correct and that they are back on course, as everyone cheers.

As the ship heads into the Alphabeta Solar System, several letters swirl into view: THE END. Junior waves goodbye as he is pulled into space. In a twinkling, Junior finds himself back in the Treasure Trove Bookstore, while Mom Asparagus objects to Mr. O'Malley's choice, saying that Junior doesn't want to read about getting lost, but Junior tells her that it's okay and that he's never alone because God is with him, while Mr. O'Malley agrees with him. Just then, the bell above the Treasure Trove Bookstore's door begins to twinkle, as a family that looks like the Rattleson family from the Jitterbug 2 enters the bookstore. The older grape asks Mr. O'Malley for some directions because he and his family are lost. Mr. O'Malley accepts the offer before asking the older grape what he's looking for, before the older grape answers, "Planet Earth", while Junior can't hide his surprise. Mr. O'Malley then tells the grape family that there's no need to fear because they've already found it.

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