Reviewed by Hafsa Alkhudairi
For all-age stories, it is important for the narrative to be engaging to both the child and the adult, as well as everyone in between. The stories have to be entertaining for different ages and different levels of interest. Tree Mail delivers.
For children, the readers will see a frog overcoming the odds against him and becoming the best mailfrog ever. For adults, they can see a system that pushes an employee to resign. It also highlights that knowing the job inside and out may not be enough to land the job and personality is important to fit into the company’s environment. It also shows that such environments could be discriminatory even within its diversity. However, Rudy the frog is too optimistic and inspired to back down from the challenge. Hence, he demonstrated to the island how he is uniquely qualified for the job. In the meantime, he outdoes his peers at the mailing service and outs the corruption without meaning to do so.
Tree Mail‘s story revolves around Rudy, an ambitious frog, who wants to deliver mail to the animals of Popomoko Island. The book does start out a bit childish using letters and images to convey the idea of the story before delving into it. The childishness is inspired because of how the design is stylistic reminiscent of a “My First Alphabet” type book. I consider this to be brilliant in relationship with the rest of the book. However, once delved, there is a juxtaposition between the realistic art as well as the more rounded renderings of the animals and their backgrounds. These styles keep the childlike life in the story, while inspiring adults to look beyond the tinted glass.
Of course, many of the themes of Tree Mail may not be apparent for the children reading, but an adult can easily recognize them and may feel free to explain it to their children. That being said, it is a fun read as well, without the political or sociological read.
Read it! The narrative has the means to entertain both adults and their children. It shows the privilege of some people over others in the workplace and how some people can overcome it with pure determination. However, it is also a precocious story of luck, opportunity, and hard work. Tree Mail shows how being blind to how people perceive you can make you advance and it is frankly one of the best reads of my year!