Jun 18, 2014

A Moment with the Meerkats

I'm taking a shortcut for a few weeks to  keep this blog active without draining my time from things I really need to do. I've spread myself too thin in the past few weeks, resulting in some oversights and errors that leave me embarrassed about my rudeness to others.

I have continued reading, reading, reading, and have added notes about those titles to my Goodreads ratings and reviews. For several weeks now I'll dip back into those files and share them here, especially if they are books with impressive power!

Simon and Schuster, BYR, 2007
For this post, I'll feature a title that impressed me as particularly versatile and powerful, a book that may not have caught your attention before this.  
I'm excited to introduce you to 
MEERKAT MAIL, by Emily Gravett. This author/illustrator has twice won the coveted Kate Greenaway Award, the Birtish equivalent of our Caldecott Award. 

Anyone who has known me is already chuckling, and here you'll see why:

Here's what I had to say on GOODREADS:

Disclaimer: I was a meerkat fanatic long before these remarkable little critters hit popular culture- when everyone thought they were some breed of cats! I'm also mildly furious that I didn't write this myself. 
LB Kids, 2001
Just as well, since I couldn't have done it this well, including the remarkably science-filled comical illustrations. The use of postcard inserts reminded me of the Jolly Postman books, and the subtle wording in them reflects equally sly humor. The degree of science incorporated in both the story and the illustrations is astonishing, and the layers of humor/information on each and every page make it ideal for rereading.
Older readers could use this as mentor text for creative ways to write fiction/non-fiction blended text.
Underlying all those plusses are two powerful messages- 
1) Be careful what you wish for (there's no place like home- click-click your red shoes) 
2) Lessons learned from family are often the most important ones (stay together/watch out for that jackal!).

I hope you'll take a look at MEERKAT MAIL, and explore the power it has in store for you. When it comes to categorizing this one, it offers connections for all these explorations:

adventurecircle-storycommunitiesconceptscuriositydifferencesexpressions and emotionsfamilyfictiongeographyhumorinnovative-formatinteractive-flapmentor-writingmiddle grademulti-agenature, elements of both fiction and non-fictionpicture-booksciencevocabulary-development, and young-elementary readers.


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Picture books are as versatile and diverse as the readers who enjoy them. Join me to explore the wacky, wonderful, challenging and changing world of picture books.