Snail Mail by Samantha Berger is the story of a girl, who sends a letter to her friend on the other side of the country, delivering it the traditional ‘snail mail’ way. As the four special snails slowly travel across the country, they find by taking their time, they discover beauty in the world.
The illustrations by Julia Patton, show four snails with unique characters. Children will enjoy looking at the equipment each snail takes with them on their journey and tracking how it is used in the different climates. The snails move across the United States, through deserts and mountains, passing famous landmarks, through flat prairies and different weather until they reach New York City. The illustrations are quirky, full of expression and packed with tiny details that children will return to time and again.
The story of the snails delivering their precious cargo emphasises the magical nature of receiving something in the mail. It is a reminder that in the modern world of email and texting, there are some things that are more special if they are delivered by post.
My children loved it, they thought it was a charming story and spent a long time pouring over the detailed illustrations. I love the sentiment of the book, reminding children of the magic of receiving a special message in the mail.
This would be a perfect book for a classroom as an introduction to many projects
- writing letters – practice writing letters to friends or family, set up a class mailbox to post them, find a class in another part of the country/world to be pen pals with.
- sending postcards – provide postcards in the writing area. How is writing a postcard different from writing a letter? Have the children ever received postcards – bring them in to talk about. Do we still need postcards, make notes for and against.
- making and writing cards – create a greeting card station, provide lots of examples, make and write cards.
- how does mail get from one place to another? Find out about the mail service – how does mail get from one place to another? Find out if the way people receive mail is different in other countries.
- the post office – set up your role play area as a post office, visit a local post office or sorting office
- introducing maps – look at maps of the united states and mark the route the snails took. Has anyone visited these places? Encourage family and friends to send the children letters – mark on a World and US map, where the children’s letters have travelled from.
- the desert – research desert climates and the animals and plants you can find in a desert. Write a piece of informational writing about a desert animal.
- mountains – research mountain climates and the plants and animals that live there. make list of similarities and differences between deserts and mountains.
- Famous landmarks around in United States – talk to the children about some famous landmarks they may have visited, ask them to share pictures and stories – make a class book about the wonderful places they have seen.
Snail Mail is published in the US on May 1st by Running Press Kids.
Disclaimer: links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links. Advance copies of the book were received for review purposes.