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Meerkat Mail


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About the Author

Emily Gravett is a graduate of Brighton University and the winner of the 2004 Macmillan Prize for Illustration. A traveller in her youth, Emily has now settled in Brighton with her partner, their young daughter - and the family dog. Her first picture book, the inimitable WOLVES (1 405 05082 9), was published by Macmillan in 2005 to great acclaim and will be followed by ORANGE PEAR APPLE BEAR (1 405 05080 2), publishing in June 2006.


Sunny the Meerkat lives in the Kalahari Desert, where it is "VERY dry and VERY hot," writes Gravett (Wolves), winner of the U.K.'s Kate Greenaway Medal. What's more, his large family is "VERY close. Sometimes Sunny thinks they are TOO close." He sets out to see if his Mongoose family relatives inhabit more salubrious digs, sending home postcards that are tipped into the pages like flaps. "Dear Mum, Dad and Everyone," reads a postcard from the rainforest, where he visits his Liberian Mongoose cousins. "It is raining. QUITE HARD. Hope the weather is better at home. Loads of love from Sunny Rainy... P.S. Great Aunt Maureen was right. I should have packed an umbrella." Finally realizing that there's no place like one's natural habitat, Sunny returns home to a joyous celebration. The book's novelty can't quite conceal that the humor is stretched-at least in the text; the pictures of the meerkat blend naturalist observations with nutty anthropomorphic details (e.g., an adult meerkat rests under a beach umbrella while giant ants perform acrobatic stunts before his electric fan). The handsome watercolor and ink illustrations make the most of the elongated horizontal format; Gravett conveys not just how a landscape looks, but also how its lighting and climate feels to a very small mammal. The scenes among Sunny's nocturnal cousins are particularly striking. And there's no denying that her meerkat have tons of animal magnetism. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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