Sunday, October 3, 2021

The Mailbox in the Forest


Mayu visits her grandparents and fetches the mail for them. Her grandfather and grandmother are pleased to receive cards and letters. Grandfather mentions that "you can read a letter as many times as you want. And it holds happy memories!" Mayu maintains that calling on the telephone is faster, so she has never written any letters. During a walk through the woods near the house she discovers a "mailbocks" with a notice on it that says, "Please put letters in here Everyone is welcome From Forest friend." She becomes excited about receiving a new letter each day from her mysterious friend and saddened when it rains and she can't visit the mailbox. From her own experience Mayu learns that her grandfather is right, letters do hold happy memories.

This charming story shows the difference between generations in how written communication is valued. Mayu's grandparents appreciate their correspondence, looking forward to it and cherishing it. At first Mayu doesn't see the appeal of waiting for a letter to arrive when a phone call is so much faster, but that is because she has never received any letters herself. Once she has, then she wants to make sure that the letters can continue even when she returns to her home in the city.

Young readers will laugh at the spelling mistakes of Mayu's pen pal and wonder along with her about his identity. The mystery will be solved to their satisfaction by the end of the story and they will also be pleased by the arrangements for the letters between the friends to continue. Adults reading along will appreciate the whimsical artwork and perhaps be inspired to share stories of special cards and letters they have received over the years (or even pull out some they have saved). There is even a blank letter form in the back of the book to encourage readers to write their own note to someone special. 

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