July 6, 2016

THE DAY IT CAME IN THE MAIL

Ben Clanton's The Day It Came in the Mail was such a delightful book to get in the mail, and I'm so excited to showcase it as my July #kidlitpicks choice! This month's theme is #repeatreads, and this book is a perfect example. There are so many fun details in the illustrations, and Clanton uses the "mail" theme perfectly, making the book a unique read every time. Liam loves getting mail more than anything in the world, but there's just one problem: he never actually gets mail! So one day he comes up with the idea to write his mailbox a letter, opening the floodgates to a whole new, magical world full of dragons, flying pigs, and funny bones.

The design of the book is on point. Many of the illustrations appear on actual envelops or postcards, and the speech bubbles are used very cleverly, serving only to accentuate the text and illustrations, never replace them. Clanton's wordplay is also notable: we see a pear stamped with "pearishable" and a giant whale stamped with "air whale," and it's all of these small details that make this book so fun to read and reread. The continuity is fantastic and clever: we see Liam's friend Jamel thinking of a horse at the beginning of the book, and then we see a horse come through the mail for him.


Liam proves to be a very interesting character study. He almost seems selfish as he runs out on his friend and asks an inanimate object for "gazillions" of things, but we get these glimpses of selflessness as the story evolves. Liam realizes that in order to receive something, you have to give something, and that's what gives him the idea to write to the mailbox in the first place. And Liam goes out of his way to send gifts to other kids who want mail, but saves the horse for Jamel. He observes much more than he lets on, and he even writes an adorable thank you note to the mailbox. 


So sweet!