Snail Mail (Samantha Berger)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Snail Mail, written by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Julia Patton, a charmingly original tale about four diligent mail carriers who just so happen to be snails.

Before the days of emails and digital communication, there was a thing called Snail Mail – actual, physical letters and packages sent from one person to another. And to this day, most people agree that some things are just better when sent by Snail Mail – for instance, the letter that a little girl in California is sending to a boy in New York. She made it herself, wrote it in her own hand, it even smells a little like her. Such a thing simply can’t be sent by computer, so she enlists the dedicated Snail Mail carriers: Dale Snail, Gail Snail, Col. McHale Snail, and Umbérto. The four plucky creatures carry the girl’s letter across the United States, seeing deserts, mountains, plains, and wonders both natural and man-made. At last, they deliver the letter to its recipient and are rewarded handsomely for their efforts.

A cute story with some great lessons. The main theme is a reminder that faster isn’t always better: the hand-made letter, how much the snails enjoy the sights and experiences of their journey – these are good lessons in both the virtues and rewards of patience. The character art is adorable, and imbues the friendly-looking snails with personality and charm throughout, and has some lovely, subtle details and visual gags. A few complaints: I’m not wild about children being represented as having romantic relationships in general, and that was undeniably shown here. Also, there were some spots in the art that seemed oddly pixelated, but this is likely a formatting or printing error. But overall, a pretty darn sweet story with a great lesson in slowing down to appreciate the world around us. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Marigold & Daisy (Andrea Zuill)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the delightful Marigold & Daisy by Andrea Zuill, a story of the highs and lows of sisterhood.

Life was pretty great for Marigold – that is, until her ultra-adorable, uber-annoying little sister Daisy was born. Daisy is such a pain! Everybody fusses over how cute she is, and she follows Marigold everywhere, and she gets away with everything! Marigold feels overlooked, under-appreciated, and most of all, irritated. In fact, she’s pretty sure that Daisy has a nefarious evil plan to take over the world using her super-powered cuteness. But when Marigold is bullied by another bug, she might be surprised at who comes to her rescue – and at what she has to say!

Very sweet. The transition from only child to big sister or brother can be a difficult one for littles, so we’re always on the lookout for books that deal with the range of emotions they can go through during this time. This one hits a lot of relatable emotions (Marigold’s sense of being pushed aside when the new baby comes, for instance) while also conveying the all-important moral of the story: sisterhood isn’t always perfect, but there’s no friendship or relationship like it. The text is easily read aloud, and has a bunch of great comedic beats that make it fun. The illustrations are wonderfully expressive, using a mix of pen-and-ink and watercolor to bring the world of snails and insects to life. The length is perfect, and JJ loved it. A great story for helping little ones laugh through a time of transition, and we recommend it highly. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)