Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Snail Mail by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Julia Patton

A long time ago, (well, not that long, but probably before you can remember!) people didn’t send emails and texts - they sent letters through snail mail.

Berger imagines a fanciful landscape with four determined snails and a very special letter. A dark-skinned girl in Santa Monica writes a special love letter “It was a card made with her own hands, written in her own handwriting, and sealed with her own kiss. It even smelled a little bit like her.” The letter is sent to a boy across the country in New York and the snails set out on their journey. They see marvelous sites like Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore, sail across the fields with birds, and finally deliver the letter. “When the snails saw the Boy’s face as he opened the letter, they knew their journey was worth it.”

Patton’s soft colors show a sun-washed landscape and four unique snails, each with their own personality. Postcards, collage elements, and sketched in details pop against the water-washed background.

I like to write letters myself and it’s certainly a fun thing to introduce kids to. Although the book was sweet though, I didn’t care for the illustrations, which had a very indistinct, swashy look, as though they’d had water dumped over them. The text is a little long and complex for the average storytime as well.

Verdict: An additional choice if you have teachers who want to encourage letter-writing; most readers will be more interested in the workings of the real-life post office. However, it’s a sweet story and if you have a large collection or want to expand your books on postal services it could make a nice addition.

ISBN: 9780762462513; Published 2018 by Running Press; Review copy provided by the publisher

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