I love books and over the years I have got quite a collection of must read children’s books. I have enjoyed using them with children I have taught and now with my own children at home. This week we have been reading Meerkat Mail. This is one of those books that my 4 year old son has had on his bookshelf for a while and he keeps going back to. He really loves this book because the illustrations are so fun and interactive. I have also used this book with a class of children aged 7 and 8 years and completed a block of work focusing on the places in the story.
Meerkat Mail Review
Sunny the meerkat lives in the Kalahari Desert with his very large extended family. He is fed up with his busy family life and wants some space and a new place to live. So he packs his suitcase and goes in search of a better place. He visits different family members around the world and writes letters and postcards to his family as he goes on his travels. Following him on his adventures is the hungry jackal – this is cleverly shown in the illustrations and the children love to find him on each page and watch as he creeps closer to Sunny. At each place he visits Sunny finds a new set of problems and in the end decides to return home to his family.
This is a lovely story which shows that there is no place like home. Visit Emily Gravett’s website for more information about the author, videos and activities.
Meerkat Mail Activities
Reading and Writing Activities
- Create a story map to retell the story – to do this draw pictures to show what happens throughout the story and then use the pictures as clues to help you retell the story verbally with your child. this is a great activity to develop their vocabulary.
- Send a postcard or a letter to a family or friend
- Look at a thermometer and learn about temperatures
- Put sand in a tray to create a desert theme and then use a finger to write numbers, temperatures or calculations
- Build an enclosure for soft toy Sunny. Decorate a cardboard box and create him a home.
- Make a small world to play in. Use the sand pit or add sand to a tray. Put in small animals you would find in the desert, stones and sticks.
Geography and Science Activities
- Find the Kalahari Desert on a globe, atlas or look at a map on Google earth. Find the other places Sunny visits and discuss any similarities and differences
- Research meerkats and jackals – what do they eat? Where do they sleep? Where do they live? Who do they live with?
- Plan a visit to see real meerkats
- See how ice cubes melt in different places in the house and talk about how different temperature effects them
I love to do activities based on a book. It really develops a child’s interest in a story or text and encourages them to want to read. Must read children’s books can develop their imagination, vocabulary and help them to process or escape the world around them.
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