On a recent trip to my mom’s house in Rhode Island, I ventured to the attic to retrieve a bin of books from my childhood. We needed some bedtime books for our visit and I thought I could rediscover something new to read together.

Jackpot. The dusty Rubbermaid bin contained a hundred or so books that my sister, brother, and I loved as children. They literally transported me back in time. Leafing through those books in the attic, I remembered favorite authors, titles, and, especially, illustrations.

One book in particular, a well-worn board book called Peekaboo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, pulled me in. I hadn’t thought about it in decades. But I remembered the pictures so vividly that I felt like a child as I peeked through each circle cut-out previewing the next page. When we got home, we went to the library for more books by the Alhbergs where we found our new favorite, The Jolly Postman.

The_Jolly_Postman_coverIn The Jolly Postman, a bicycle-riding mail carrier travels through a fairy tale kingdom delivering mail to its familiar inhabitants: Goldilocks, the Wicked Witch, Jack and the Beanstalk’s Giant, and more. The book is interactive with envelopes to open for each character, which my mail-loving four-year-old enthusiastically opened. But one of the book’s best features is the humorous extensions of the Mother Goose fairy tales. I love them almost as much as she does!

I also love The Jolly Postman because it teaches my little one so much about types of writing. The mail that is delivered throughout the story is unique and each piece serves a different purpose—from personal letters to advertisements, legal correspondence to postcards. My personal favorite is the Hobgoblins Supplies Ltd flier that the Wicked Witch receives.


Go Beyond Reading…

Read The Jolly Postman with your mail-loving child and then extend it with these activities:

  • Watch for the mail carrier to deliver your mail. Then go collect it together. What’s inside? Invite your child to open some envelopes. Talk about the different types of mail you’ve received. Compare it to the types of mail in the story.
  • Invite your child to write some mail. Depending on his or her age, you can assist in penning a postcard to a friend or family member. My four-year-old loves to sign her name to cards and letters that she dictates to me. Or, provide supplies for your child to design a greeting card or make a drawing to send to a loved one. Allow your child to stamp the letter and then deliver it to the post office or mailbox together.
  • Ask a family member to send mail to your child. My parents and in-laws who live out of state love sending mail to my daughters. We save them in a box to revisit again and again.