Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead Book Review

Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead
Illustrations by Matthew Cordell
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: March 3, 2015

Sadie needs to deliver an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine, who lives completely alone and could use some company. Turns out, mailing an elephant would require an entire cart full of stamps and so they begin their quest to get the elephant to her Great-Aunt by all manner of transportation, be it airplane, train, or alligator.

I am completely going to spoil the ending here, because I feel it is important. Great-Aunt Josephine is not alone. She is surrounded by dozens of exotic animals that I can only guess Sadie has been sending to her. It is this twist that made the entire story endearing, because it showed the love that Sadie has for her Great-Aunt and her desire to see her happy and surrounded by the things she loves. This alone is a great message because kids inherently think that the world revolves around them. In a way, in their small limited understanding, it kind of does. Which is why I liked the idea of a kid so diligently thinking about someone else.

The journey is important too though, and I absolutely loved the ways in which Sadie tries to get her elephant delivered. The accompanying illustrations demand more than a quick look-see as there is often a lot going on in them beyond what is just in the text. I absolutely love when illustrations give us even more story beyond what is just written on the page and Cordell does it so well.