Kevin Luthardt, Author, Kevin Luthardt, Illustrator . Peachtree $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56145-300-9

Larabee, a yellow spotted dog with noodly black ears, belongs to a mailman, Mr. Bowman. Every day, they deliver letters to old and young people throughout their ethnically diverse town. Although it goes without comment, the mail implies a great deal about its recipients: a boy receives a birthday card; an elderly woman happily accepts junk mail and dreams of riches ("You could have just won $1,000,000!" reads the envelope); and Mr. and Mrs. Mendoza "get a letter from their son in the army." Larabee enjoys making the neighborhood rounds, but wishes someone would send him a letter. (Larabee does not speak, but communicates by sniffing the blue mail bag.) Mr. Bowman shrugs that "dogs don't get mail," yet at the end of the day, there is a lavender envelope in the sack. Lacey, a girl who "loves Larabee the most," has written him a simple crayon note that makes his day (Mr. Bowman reads it aloud to the pooch). Through quiet Larabee, who feels neglected even if he is not lonely, Luthardt (Peep! ) suggests how much people appreciate getting personal, tangible greetings. The gouache and acrylic pictures—of round-headed characters, blocky houses and green shrubbery—keep the simple message at the forefront, and Lacey's unadorned card demonstrates how anyone can make a small, thoughtful gesture to a friend. Ages 2-6. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 30 pages - 978-1-56145-482-2
Prebound-Sewn - 32 pages - 978-0-606-37334-0
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