A red unattended post box stands in our building. The children in the building run past it, unmindful of it as they would be of a lampost or a dustbin. Sometimes they get curious and ask about the slot in it. I explained it to my children once and it seemed like I was talking about a long past age. The “when I was a child..” sort of anecdote. True, Facebook and Watsapp help me stay in touch with friends far more easily. But, oh, the delicious waiting for a letter or a card from friends in far away lands, the admiring of the stamps on it and the reviewing of it, time and again.
Seven Little Postmen by Margret Wise Brown and Edith Thacher Hurd is a lovely little book that tells the journey of a secret message from a little boy to his grandmother.
The letter is sent from a big city where the boy lives to the corner of a small village where his grandmother lives.
We take the journey with the letter from the time it is dropped into the letter box, sealed with red wax to when it is sorted into lots according to direction. Then we follow the letter as it is carried through van, plane and train till it reaches the post office on the railway track. Off again it moves, ferried with chickens for one, wigs for another and gifts for still others. Finally it reaches Grandmother who misses her grandson and the happy secret from boy to him is then finally out!
The postman we learn:
Carries letters and papers, chickens and fruit
To the people who live along his route.
There were parts for a tractor
And a wig for an actor
And a funny post card for a little boy
Playing in his backyard.
There was something for Sally
And something forSam
and something for Mrs.Potter
Who was busy making jam.
There were dozens of chickens
And a dress for Mrs.McCarty
The book details the technical aspects of the post such as collection, sorting, transportation, further sorting and the different types of things that are sent back and forth through the postal services. The book with it’s narrative, never makes it sound dull or uninteresting. It tells it through the seven little postmen, who are instrumental in helping the boy’s secret message reach his grandmother.
Seven Little Postmen teaches a process in one of the most engaging way. If you’d like to read about the fast disappearing art of letters and post cards make sure it’s this one.