Title: Snail Mail
Author: Samantha Berger
Illustrator: Julia Patton
Publisher: Running Press Kids, 2018
Themes: letters, handwritten mail, snails, cross country trip, snail mail
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.
A much slowwwwwwwwwwer way.
It was called Snail Mail.
Snail Mail joins four snails as they journey across the country to deliver a special letter by a Girl to a Boy. The snails trek across the country-through desert heat and dangerous blizzards, across mountains and plains, through cities and forests-and along the way, they find that taking time to slow down and look around makes the journey all the more beautiful.
Why I like this book:
Snail Mail reminds us of the value of both handwritten letters and slowing down. These letters can be creatively packaged. They might include a drawing. They might even contain a surprise inside! I still send birthday cards with a small chocolate bar inside the envelope to friends around the world. It also reminded me of when I lived in Malawi and was dating a Canadian who lived in The Netherlands. Love letters could take 3+ weeks, but how ecstatic I was to receive a letter!
I love the snail names – Dale Snail, Gail Snail, Colonel McHale Snail, and Umberto.
It’s a super fun and educational story that encourages kids to sometimes develop a slower approach to life, allowing for more wonder and a sprinkle of determination. The cross country trip is also a celebration of the beauty of the American landscape. And, as I am thinking about driving from the east to west coast this summer, I found it pretty inspirational.
Julia Patton’s rich illustrations showcase America’s diverse terrain and national monuments from coast to coast and you’ll fall in love with all her snails. Make sure to give the children time to explore the cool details in the art work.
For older children, letters to be written AND posted to whomever the child would like to write longhand to! These can of course be dictated! Or the letter receivers could be randomly picked from the group and hand delivered! 🙂
The book has much to offer in the way of classroom activities beyond just letter writing: studying snail habitats and patterns, geography and maps and even different types of travel. And it could also be used as a very simple introduction to the land of the United States of America.
Teaching children to write letters.
Check out my interview this week with the illustrator, Julia Patton.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
Sounds like a perfect read for kids (and me!) just starting their summer break too. Did you know the author Patricia Highsmith often carried some of her pet snails around in her purse?
OMG, I did not know. How cool is that?!
Clever idea to use snails to tell the story. There was nothing like writing and mailing a letter waiting for a reply. I had pen pals and enjoyed the anticipation. Children today miss out on that. Glad Berger has included classroom activities. I’m going to give this book to great grandchildren. I always make a point of sending them birthday and holiday cards with messages so they know what it feels like to receive a written letter and greeting in the mail.
I am glad you too still communicate by snail mail, Pat!
This is one of those clever books that makes me say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” What a fun concept, and I love that it encourages a slower approach.
Ha, I have played around with the title and ideas, that’s for sure
This sounds super cute!! I’ll be on the lookout!
I love the sound of this book. And can I be your friend?!!! LOL You must be popular with your personal cards and CHOCOLATE BARS! I agree. We have lost something with snail mail. I loved receiving letters while as camp and college especially.
Ha, sure, you can get on my birthday list!
Love this clever take on a what, sadly, is becoming a lost art. So glad you reviewed this one, Joanna!
I love snail books and mail. Looks lovely. I’ll be looking for this one on the next library run.