If anyone is a fan of snail mail, it is me. In fact, I just purchased a book on lettering so I can add pretty lettering to the snail mail that I will send out tomorrow!
Author Samantha Berger has teamed up with illustrator Julia Patton to create Snail Mail, which comes out May 1 from Running Press. This children’s book, intended for children’s ages 3-6, tells the funny story of snail mail. And by that I mean the snails who walk across the country to deliver our mail.
Snail Mail has a wonderful and humorous narrative voice. Berger starts the book with “A long, long time ago, but really not THAT long, / before e-mail and texting, clicking and sending, / mail was delivered in a much different way.” And even if mail was not delivered in exactly the way she shares in Snail Mail, Berger is able to make readers think about slower times, about the beauty of going to the mailbox and receiving a letter.
One of the aspects of the book that I really, really liked is that the message of the book seems to be let’s start sending each other snail mail again! without hitting us over the head with that message. I think parents and teachers and kids can have some good discussions on the wonders of receiving handwritten letters – and maybe write and send some snail mail!
Patton’s really detailed (and absolutely and totally silly) illustrations really make the book! I love the illustrations of the little girl who writes the letter to the little boy. My other favorite illustrations were the drawings of the snails and the cityscape. I always say that my litmus test for favorite illustrations is if I want to rip the page out. And I definitely wanted to rip the cityscape spread out!
The book’s ending is really cute – if not contradicting the book’s message of going back to simpler times! Nevertheless, I think kids and adults will enjoy this book. It makes up for a completely original idea with its quirky narration and dynamic illustrations.
Snail Mail earns three stars.