Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Meerkat Mail

Meerkat Mail

Emily Gravett
Novelty Book
For ages 5 to 8
Simon and Schuster, 2007   ISBN: 978-1416934738

Sunny the meerkat lives in the hot and dry Kalahari Desert. Sometimes the heat gets too much for Sunny. Sometimes having so many family members around all the time gets too much for Sunny too. After all they are always there, all the time.

One day Sunny decides that he needs to find somewhere “perfect” to live. So he sets off and in every place that he visits he stays with one of his mongoose relatives. Being a good son, he always sends his family a postcard when he gets to a place.

Sunny’s first stop is at his Uncle Bob’s place. Uncle Bob is a Dwarf Mongoose and though Sunny really enjoys staying with Uncle Bob and his family he comes to the decision that he “just doesn’t fit in” there.

Sunny’s cousins Scratch and Mitch the Banded Moongooses are in the middle of an itchy move so Sunny does not stay with them for very long, and he finds that cousin Ed’s life on a farm is too eggy. As far as Sunny is concerned scorpions taste a lot better than eggs.

And so it goes on. Poor Sunny finds that every stop he makes is more uncomfortable and miserable than the last. And with every stop he makes he misses home more and more. Is there no place out there that is “right for him”?

There is no doubt that children and the grownups who read to them are going to love this picture book. Anyone who has suffered from a case of “the grass is greener” will recognize themselves in Sunny. After all, who hasn’t wished for a different life, a different home, or a different family at least once? Not only will readers enjoy reading the lift-the-flap picture postcards that Sunny writes home, and smiling at the delightful illustrations, but they will also learn about the different kinds of mongooses that there are in Africa, and they can watch the jackal who stalks Sunny throughout his adventure. Even the artwork on the inside covers of the book is marvelous. Thus this book is, from cover to cover, a joy to read and to look at.