PPBF: Snail Mail

Title: Snail Mail
Author: Samantha Berger
Illustrator: Julia Patton
Publisher: Running Press Books
Birthday: May 1, 2018
Suitable for: grades K - 3rd
Themes: letter writing, mindfulness, perseverance 
Brief synopsis: When Girl writes a note to Boy who lives across the country, four faithful snails offer to deliver it for her.
Opening page: 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 slowwwwwwwwwer way. It was called Snail Mail.

Resources: Visit the author's page {here}.
Check out a Kirkus review {here}.

Why I like this book: From the author of Martha Doesn't Share and many other strong titles, Snail Mail seems on the surface to just be a silly snail tale. But take a deeper look as you journey with the snails on their priority-mail delivery expedition and you'll find lots of discussion points to ponder:
some poetry,
{Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor hail
could stop those snails from bringing the mail.
crazy weather patterns,
{Sometimes it poured. Sometimes it blizzarded.
Sometimes it got blazing hot. Sometimes it pelted ice.
geographical landmarks,
{Vegas, Jackson Hole, Yellowstone
and mindfulness suggestions
{... there was something special about slowing down ...
all embedded into this creative newcomer. 
I especially like the idea of slowwwwwwwing down, 
of looking around and noticing.

When we first got this van from New York five years ago, 

I was pretty sure I'd never seen a Honda van in that color.
Pretty sure we didn't have them here in TX.
I was excited to have a one-of-a-kind.
Until the drive home.
That afternoon I saw at least five other vans
that very same color,
simply because I was noticing.

Use this story to encourage your learners to
slow down long enough to notice stuff.
Take them outside and play I Spy looking for certain colors.
How many blue things can they spot?
Then how many red?
How many green?
Noticing things will awaken their senses,
a nice segue into what they're smelling.
Consider the reference in the book to a letter
smelling like the person who sent it.
What do they notice that smells like someone?
Or something?
A memory maybe?
There's a certain smell that always takes me back
to northern Wisconsin
and makes me think of camping.
I love it when that scent wafts in the air.
I think it's some sort of a pine tree.
Let this treasure open up a rich discussion
on mindfulness.
Finally, use this mentor text as a springboard for,
you guessed it,
a letter-writing unit.
Find out first if they even know how much
postage for a first-class letter costs.
Teach them how to address an envelope.
Encourage them to write a note to a far-away friend
or a relative they've not heard from in awhile.
Or have them write to their parents or grandparents
who live close by, just for fun.
You could even find a class of kids in the same grade
and ask them to be Pen Pals
like we're planning to do with a group of
fifth-grade girls up in MA.
So many enrichment possibilities.

Check out this special delivery;
it's a whimsical parody that you won't want to miss.

Then visit Susanna Hill's blog for today's other PPBF picks


  1. Snail Mail looks adorable! I love the letter writing connection (a lost art) which is a good tie in for teachers and parents. I added this book to my watch list!

  2. That one line, "there was something special about slowing down ..." won me over. I'm looking forward to my visit to the library today and hope, hope, hope they have a copy of this book. It's when we take a little extra time and care that we notice the details and enjoy activities more. This sounds like a special book.

  3. What an interesting book. I am looking forward to reading it.

  4. What a charming book. And, your suggested activities are excellent. Kids today are missing out on a lot of nostalgic things that we had growing up. I remember the excitement of getting a letter in the mail, or mailing a handwritten letter. That's why I still send birthday, holiday cards and post cards to our great grandchildren so that they know what it's like to get a receive mail. Great share.

  5. I received my copy of this book yesterday, but will hold off my review for a few weeks. I love how you have featured it here, and its multiple layers.

  6. Sounds like a cute take on "snail mail." I wish letter writing was more in practice these days. :)


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!