Lindsay's Reviews > Mailing May

Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell
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's review
Nov 16, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction

Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell falls into the category a historical fiction based on research. The author provides a lengthy note at the end of the book explaining how she collected her research to tell the story of the young girl May that was mailed to her grandma's when her parents couldn't afford a train ticket. " I learned these facts about May and her incredible adventure from Jim O'Donnel of the National Postal Museum, Lora Feucht of the Nez Peree County (Idaho) Historical Society, Carmelita Spencer of the Bicentennial Historical Museum of Grangeville, Guila Ford and Judith Austin of the Idaho Historical Society, Jim Morefield of the Camas Prairie Railroad (who let me ride the rail between Grangeville and Lewiston) and Gerald Sipes, May's son. It obvious that Tunnel acquired many sources including a close family member, Sipes.

The author notes that this is a true story, and while May's story is fictionalized, "the historical events are accurate". It is obvious that the author has done her homework to make this book authentic and accurate. For example, Tunnel included the detail of May being classified as a baby chick and sent for fifty-three cents. He notes this detail in the author's note and then includes it in the story. I love that in addition to interviewing many people, Tunnel rode the route that was similar to May's adventure. This life experience help enhance May's story in the book.

In addition, after researching and finding this website ( it is apparent that the illustrator Ted Rand painted authentic pictures to accompany the text. The actual pictures of grandma's home, the railroads, and May are very similar in the book. It is easily recognizable that research and thought were put into the illustration to make it more authentic. Both the details in the text and author's note as well as the illustrations move the story forward.

I loved this historical fiction book. I think it will be a great read aloud in my classroom. I think kids will be quite amazed in the differences in time periods and find it hilarious that a young girl was mailed to her grandma's. I like how this story will provide children an opportunity to learn about a different time period, history of the postal service, as well as view differences in cost from back then and today.

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