cover image Hail to Mail

Hail to Mail

Samuel Marshak, S. Marshak. Henry Holt & Company, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-1132-6

Pevear and Radunsky teamed up for last year's American edition of Marshak's The Pup Grew Up! , also by late Soviet writer Marshak; this collaboration has equal verve. When Mister Tim, the New York City mailman, delivers a certified letter for Mr. John Peck from Schenectady, he is told that John Peck has just left. Undaunted postmen across the globe receive the same frustrating news as the missive tardily pursues the elusive traveler from ``noisy'' Boise, Idaho, to Zurich to Brazil and, at last, back to New York. Pevear's translation of Marshak's verse conveys wit and gaiety, but Radunsky's illustrations steal the show. His drolly distorted perspectives, his coolly elongated characters and his sly series of visual jokes (the Duke of Urbino, in a portrait hung from the wall, turns his head when the letter finally reaches John Peck) recall Jazz Age syncopation and glad-hearted chic. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)