'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 26 August 2017

Review: Eric the Postie

Author and Illustrator Matt Shanks has created a most delightful and funny story about a little echidna with a really big dream.

The story Eric the Postie begins on the endpapers, showing that Eric comes from a long line of successful echidnas. The reader is drawn immediately into the story in the most enticing way, 'Eric had a dream...' now the reader is compelled to find out  what the dream is and how the determined little echidna will he fulfil it.

Eric knows that he has skills that makes him perfect for delivering mail to the outback town folk of Wattleford, Australia. His spines could protect him from dogs. He could dig tunnels to keep the mail dry from the rain. With his tongue he could seal envelopes and deal with letterboxes infested with ants and larvae.

However, Eric had a problem. The post office does not hire animals as postmen. This realisation does not deter this little echidna. Eric would do anything to make his dream happen and he comes up with an ingenious plan to allow him to collect mail and deliver it.

Soon, the Wattleford postman realises that something mysterious is happening to the mail, as he has less and less to deliver. The postman knew that the people of Wattleford were still sending mail and '...they were happier than they had ever been!'  How were the letters being delivered? The postman begins an investigation but the readers already know from the illustrations that Eric is involved in the mail's delivery.

Matt's watercolour illustrations are a mixture of vignettes and double page spreads, that add to the story's text. Matt uses the illustrations to show how letterboxes are numbered using even numbers on one side of the street. He cleverly references the wattle part of the town's name, by adding wattle to the emblem of the post office. Matt then echoes the wattle emblem in the illustrations of Eric's letterbox, showing Eric's resourcefulness.

Eric the Postie has a very satisfying ending where Eric's dream is realised and acknowledged by the post office.

For teachers notes see here.

Title: Eric the Postie
Author/Illustrator: Matt Shanks
Publisher: Scholastic Australia, $16.99
Publication Date: 1 July 2017
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781743811931
For ages: 3 - 7
Type: Picture Book