Illustrations by Emily Gravett always leave me sighing. Or is it singing? I guess whichever one conveys my happiness at being part of the way she sees the world. In Meerkat Mail, Sonny gets tired of always being around everyone ALL OF THE TIME. After all, the meerkat motto is “Stay Safe, Stay Together!” But Sonny longs to explore, and so sets off to visit some of his cousins different mongoose families across Africa. He sends postcards home to tell where he is and what he’s doing. (Apparently, he doesn’t Twitter.) In the end, of course, there’s no place like home.
The postcards he sends are taped in the book, which is pretty cool. The art is fantastic, the learning is subtle, and the humor is ever-present. Gravett’s books often have a bit of darkness to them, and here that nod is seen in a jackal that stalks Sonny on his journey. The question remains why the predator doesn’t... ahem, eat him along the way. So maybe the threat part is a little contrived. It’s a minor complaint, though, for a majorly great book.