One of my favourite things about The Jolly Postman, as the subtitle of ‘Or, Other People’s Letters’ suggests, is that it really IS as if you were sneakily peeking at an assortment of letters addressed to others. This splendid children’s book follows the Postman of a fairy-tale land, as he spends a busy day delivering mail to well-known characters from stories. The book is set out in the following format: one page contains a beautiful colour illustration of the character(s) involved, and the other page is an envelope, which the reader can open to reveal a letter. The rhymes are short yet humorous, and useful for children that are learning to read to practise their skills. An example of one of the verses is:
“So the witch read the letter
With a cackle of glee
While the Postman read the paper
But LEFT his tea. (It was green!)”
The envelopes are all different, and the decision of the authors to include a wide variety of letters (formal and friendly) is nothing short of ingenious. Each envelope displays the name and address of a character, and a stamp and postmark for added authenticity. The giant (of Jack and the Beanstalk) for instance, receives a postcard in an airmail envelope, from Jack. The wicked witch receives a brilliantly amusing catalogue from Hobgoblin Witch Supplies, Goldilocks gets a birthday card (with a one pound note inside), and Cinderella is delivered a charming mini-book of her life from a publisher.
The Jolly Postman is truly one of the most inspired children’s books I have ever had the good fortune to come across, and anyone who has enjoyed it like me may also like to track down the two other books in the same series, ‘The Jolly Pocket Postman’ and ‘The Jolly Christmas Postman’ (both of which are superb).