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MEERKAT MAIL by Emily Gravett Kirkus Star

MEERKAT MAIL

By Emily Gravett (Author) , Emily Gravett (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4169-3473-8
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A restless meerkat’s wanderjahr lasts just six days, but that’s long enough to visit as many members of his far-flung clan. Chafing at his large family’s “Stay safe, stay together” lifestyle, Sunny packs a suitcase and goes off to visit a string of relatives, from Liberian mongoose cousins Mildred and Frank to Great Aunt Flo the marsh mongoose—oblivious to the predatory hyena struggling along behind. Unhappily, as he reports back on a set of lift-the-flap picture postcards, none of the places he visits are as warm or comfortable as his familiar old burrow, so in the end it’s back to the Kalahari. There he gets a big welcome party with a banner, hugs, a platter of yummy scorpions . . . and the frustrated hyena gets a jeering send-off. Gravett depicts the meerkats, the mongooses and their varied habitats in deftly brushed watercolors, adding lighthearted riffs (the postcard from Aunt Flo’s swamp is an ad for the “Dive-In Self-Service Restaurant”) and decorating the endpapers with faux photos and newspaper clippings. Along with humor and suspense, she folds snippets of natural history into the tale—and it’s worth noting that meerkats outdo even kittens for cuteness and personality. (Picture book. 6-8)