Contributed by Bonnye Matthews
Mike Spindle is a toy designer, sculptor, illustrator and author. His work has enriched Disney, Hallmark Cards and Hasbro, among others. At present, he is writing children’s books appropriate for the very young. The books are reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, but Spindle’s focus is animals in Alaska.
Miles is a Mailmoose is dedicated to mail carriers everywhere, and as such the flavor of the enormity of Alaska is part of the atmosphere of the story. The first day on his job, Miles has an adventure learning that delivering mail by bicycle in Alaska is not always easy. He searches for Blueberry Lane and other animals kindly show him the direction. Sometimes the animals disagree on direction. Finally, Miles finds Blueberry Lane only to realize the letter is addressed to Blackberry Lane. Trying to do well the first day on a job can bring on some silly mistakes, and it certainly does here, providing a great chance to realize that first timers should expect to make mistakes. Miles does, but with a title such as Miles is a Mailmoose, the expectation is that he learns and achieves success.
The story contains a brown bear (grizzly), Dall sheep, white bear (polar bear), halibut, king crab, musk ox, porcupine, bald eagle, mallard duck, beaver and other common Alaskan animals. The delightful hopeful look on the face of Miles as he goes about his work is priceless just as is his look of dismay as he tries to climb a cliff.
Spindle has captured the essence of the Alaska animals in his cartoons. Moose are large and have remarkably thin legs. Miles’ thin legs and knobby knee illustrations capture that attribute well enough to cause adults to smile. Spindle surely will enrich the lives of many children with this story. It’s creative, exceptionally well written, and delightful. I highly recommend this book for community library Children’s Literature lists. Also available in e-book form ($3.99, 9781594336553).