Archive for December 17th, 2015

cordell-Special Delivery Final Cover copy

by Sam Juliano

Chugga Chugga Chugga Beans Beans Beans”

The conceit in Phillip C. Stead and Matthew Cordell’s delightfully anarchic Special Delivery is grandiose and economically prohibitive.  A determined and resourceful young girl named Sadie worries about her dear Great Aunt Josephine, who is leading a life of solitude.  What better way to raise her spirits than to send her -via the local post office- a good-natured pachyderm.  She leads this largest of land creatures to a cheerfully chaotic outdoor depot where the clerk named Jim receives the request matter-of factly.  In a lampoon of unstinting post office procedure, which in this case is ludicrously non-applicable on every count,  Sadie advises him not to bend, drop or shake him, as he is fragile and might break.  After calculating the approximate expense Jim tells Sadie that she will need a real lot of stamps to transport her elephant.  When she asks how many the undaunted postman rolls out a wheelbarrow overflowing with stamps that recalls the zany scene in Woody Allen’s Bananas when workers wheel out thousands of sandwiches to feed a guerrilla army.  Sadie soon realizes the folly of her idea and moves on to ask a pilot named Mary if she’d loan the girl her airplane, while showing her the daunting proposition.  Much like the postman, the pilot acts like this is a run-of-the-mill request, though she informs the girl it will require a lot of fuel.  Just as quick as one can shout “Goooooooo” they are off in a twin engine plane, but soon are interrupted by the telling sounds of sput sputt sputter and koff koff koff.  In a think bubble, Sadie realizes they are running out of fuel.  The plane quickly descends, and after some sounds denoting engine failure, winds up in a river, where an alligator as a guide down this jungle waterway.  They soon hear “Chugga chugga chugga, whooo-whoooo.”  Sound cognizant students may immediately conjure up memories of Brian Floca’s 2013 Caldecott Medal winning Locomotive, which like Special Delivery can be framed as a book about a road journey. (more…)


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