cover image Here Comes the Mail

Here Comes the Mail

Gloria Skurzynski. Bradbury Press, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-782916-7

The author of Robots: Your High-Tech World and What Happened in Hamelin adds sparkle to her latest work--and humanizes a complex process--by framing her informative photo essay with an engaging narrative. When Stephanie in Santa Fe writes to her cousin Kathy in Salt Lake City, readers can witness the various stages in the letter's journey. In easy-to-understand language, Skurzynski moves from stage to stage--the letter is stamped and sealed, sorted at the post office, packed onto an airplane and at last delivered to its final destination. The backstage view of the U.S. Postal Service provides a host of intriguing tidbits: postage stamps, for instance, are printed with a special ink that can be identified by ultraviolet lights. Though the book abounds with engrossing details, some descriptions (``a big machine''; ``the city where Kathy lives'') seem overly spare and may leave readers wanting more information. The photographs, which capture such images as sorters keying the ZIP codes and handlers loading mailbags onto a plane, strike an appealing balance between the personal and the technological aspects of an everyday topic--a topic that kids who have read this book will no longer take for granted. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)