cover image Tortoise Brings the Mail

Tortoise Brings the Mail

Dee Lillegard. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45156-3

Tortoise loves his work delivering the forest mail and he's very good at it. But when Crow, Rabbit and Fox each claim they can get the letters and packages out faster, Tortoise graciously steps aside, giving up his route. The new-and-improved carriers fail miserably, however, leaving Tortoise to straighten out the chaos and make amends to his customers. Before long he's cheered all over the countryside as ""the very best one"" to deliver the mail. Lillegard's (Sitting in My Box) nicely paced tale offers a gentle lesson in appreciation. Her kindhearted Tortoise embodies the perseverance and steadfastness for which his kind has been recognized since Aesop's day. Lund's (Way Out West Lives a Coyote Named Frank) perky paintings brim with such playful details as inventively designed mailboxes and alliterative or otherwise catchy animal names and addresses (e.g., Beaver, D.D.S., and Doe A. Deer). But her characters' overly anthropomorphic expressions and frequently vacant smiles often render her paintings more bland than amusing. Mailman fans will also want to keep in mind Bernadette Watts's Harvey Hare, Postman Extraordinaire (Children's Forecasts, Jan. 20). Ages 3-6. (Apr.)